Fort Wayne Community Schools has canceled classes 11 days because of inclement weather – the most days missed in the last 15 years.
Although district officials are pleased to have some flexibility from the state, options to hold classes on Saturdays or extend school days to provide an extra hour of instruction time aren't practical, spokeswoman Krista Stockman said Thursday.
"Unless there's more extreme weather and more cancellations, doing those things at a district our size is a logistical nightmare," she said.
The state Department of Education announced Thursday that schools can reschedule holidays, hold classes on Saturdays or extend the school year without seeking a state waiver. They also can extend the school day and seek a conditional waiver when they've made up the equivalent of one day of instruction.
At FWCS, extending the school day would affect scheduled extracurricular activities and students with after-school jobs and would mean later buses for young students who might not get home until well after 5:30 p.m., Stockman said.
And despite rumors circulating in the community and on social media sites, the district will not cancel spring break scheduled for March 31 to April 4, she said.
FWCS received a state waiver for Jan. 6 and 7, made up another missed day on Jan. 31 and will have classes on May 9 and May 23 to make up for two others.
Even after all of those adjustments, students will still need to attend classes through June 11 – six days later than planned, but a few days shy of graduations on June 13 and 14, Stockman said.
And while students and parents might groan about the additional days cutting into their summer vacations, it's not the latest the district has attended classes, she added.
During the 2010-11 school year, students were in class until June 13.
Northwest Allen County Schools Superintendent Chris Himsel said he is appreciative of the options from the Department of Education, but the district has not reached a final decision about whether it will take advantage of the opportunities.
Once a decision is made, Himsel said, the district will send a letter to parents and post information on its website.
"We are still in February, so the possibility of more delays and closings continues," he said.
NACS has closed school 12 times during this school year.
East Allen County Schools officials said they will wait to hear a proposal from Superintendent Ken Folks during a school board meeting Tuesday before announcing the district's plans.
Southwest Allen County Schools officials did not respond Thursday to a request to comment.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said many superintendents she had spoken with had asked for flexibility in scheduling instructional time.
Indiana requires schools to provide 180 days of instruction or lose funding for each missed day, Department of Education spokesman Daniel Altman said.
The state has already offered unconditional waivers for two days missed in January due to extremely cold temperatures. Even with those waivers, many school districts expect to extend classes into June after harsh conditions in January forced some schools to close for a week straight.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.