Students in Richland will finish classes on June 15 and Pasco students will wrap up the school year the next day.
The two districts settled the issue this week after a series of winter storms forced Mid-Columbia students to miss several days of classes.
While most area schools decided when their seniors will receive their diplomas, officials still needed to meet a state requirement for an average 1,027 hours of instructional time in a year.
Most of the districts were on track to meet that until icy conditions forced them to close for another day Feb. 15. The cancellation put Pasco and Kennewick at 10 missed days for the school year and Richland at nine days.
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Gov. Jay Inslee issued two statewide declarations of emergency in January, allowing districts to apply for a waiver from the requirement that students attend 180 days.
But to receive it, students need to attend until at least June 14, as well as make up three days.
Pasco initially scheduled to finish school on June 9, but after the district’s fifth snow day, officials and unions agreed to move it to June 16.
Shifting the last day of class to June 14 would fall short of the 1,027-hour requirement, said Glenda Cloud, the deputy superintendent of teaching and learning.
Board members unanimously agreed to keep it on June 16, a Friday.
We know that folks have plans that they can’t cancel. We are making accommodations for families and kids based on the needs that they have. They just need to talk to their school administrator.
Rick Jansons, Richland School Board president
“It happened to be a fortunate coincidence,” said Shane Edinger, the district’s communications manager.
That leaves seniors with five days to make up between now and the early June graduation dates.
“They’re still working on how they will do that,” he said.
In Richland, the district previously decided to aim for ending school on June 14, but the Feb. 15 cancellation dropped the average annual instruction hours to 1,023, said Superintendent Rick Schulte.
Along with shifting the last day of school, school board President Rick Jansons said the board is asking the employee unions to change four early release Fridays from partial days off to full class days.
The district normally schedules the last hour and 15 minutes of each Friday for teachers to collaborate.
“We know that folks have plans that they can’t cancel,” Jansons said. “We are making accommodations for families and kids based on the needs that they have. They just need to talk to their school administrator.”
The move adds a partial day for seniors to make up, meaning they need to attend 3.5 days before the June 2 graduation date.
The district previously scheduled three Saturdays in April for seniors to make up the lost class time.
The last day for Kennewick students is June 14.
Robyn Chastain, the district’s director of communications, said more information about how the district plans to make up the missing instructional hours is going to be available after the board’s March 8 meeting.