ST. FRANCISVILLE — Last week's cold weather canceled four days of classes for West Feliciana Parish students and will knock two scheduled holidays off their calendar in the next two months.
The school system began the current year with three extra days of instruction built into the calendar above the state minimum requirement; but after two spells of snow and extreme cold, students face a deficit of instructional minutes amounting to 2.2 days, school officials told the School Board on Tuesday.
The board elected to make up the deficit by eliminating a scheduled holiday Feb. 12, the Monday before Mardi Gras, and canceling a March 7 staff development day on which students would not have been required to attend.
Those two days will be supplemented with the addition of a half-hour of instruction on the final day of school in May.
The board had a choice of canceling a Good Friday holiday rather than Lundi Gras, but several board members said that many people attend church services on Good Friday.
Superintendent Hollis Milton said school calendars in earlier years had only two contingency days for bad weather, but the trend has been to increase the number because of changing weather conditions.
Board President Kevin Beauchamp said he would not rule out another lost day because of weather before the year is out.
The makeup days will allow teachers extra time to prepare students for the school accountability tests that start after the Easter holiday week.
On another matter, the board agreed to seek bids for the sale of timber on a 97-acre tract of 16th Section land the board owns jointly with the East Feliciana Parish school system. Consulting forester Brent Fazande said the tract was planted in pines in the 1980s and thinned once. He recommended a second thinning, which he estimated may bring in $50,000 for the two boards.
West Feliciana owns the larger interest in the tract.