SPARTA, Mich. (WZZM) - As the snow piles up, so are the snow days for many area schools. There were hundreds more closures and delays Wednesday morning. One West Michigan school district now finds itself with too many snow days, forcing administrators to find ways to make up lost time.
An occasional bell of the public address system was the only sound in the halls of Sparta High School Wednesday, because for the seventh time this year, the district was snowed out.
"If you can get to Christmas break without any snow days, you're in pretty good shape," said Kent Swinson, superintendent of the Sparta School District. "[All seven of Sparta's snow days] happened since that time."
Every year, the state gives school districts six days for cancelations deemed out of their control. Sparta has passed that allotment during the 2012-2013 school year, forcing administrators to find ways to make up the days.
"We have some non-student attendance days yet on our calendar between now and June that we could bring students in," said Swinson.
Institutions must provide 1,098 instructional hours during the school year, which translates to a minimum of 170 days. But a few years ago, Sparta established its own annual threshold of required instructional days: 173.
"We're above the 1,098, but because this is our seventh day out, we're not meeting the 173, and that's why we'll have to make up a day," added Swinson.
Administrators in Sparta say they don't know when students will make up their seventh snow day, but what they do know is Sparta is out of the state-provided "freebies" and this winter is far from over, meaning additional snow days will mean these hallways and classrooms won't be empty on days they should be.
"The decision is always going to be made on the safety of students and staff," added Swinson.