UPDATE: Wis. school closings might result in extended year

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UPDATED Tuesday, January 28, 2014 --- 3:05 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Districts across the state may have to tack on days at the end of the school year to make up for instruction days canceled this week.

Schools across Wisconsin closed Tuesday because of bitter subzero temperatures. Some of the schools had closed Monday as well.

The state Department of Public Instruction mandates that districts schedule 180 days of school. There are separate requirements for a minimum number of hours of instruction, depending on the grade level.

Many districts build a few days of overage into their calendars to account for days of inclement weather. But some have used up this year's overages and will need to add school days in June.

Amy Arlen of the Wausau School District says school officials won't hesitate to cancel more days to keep students safe, even if it means extending to school year.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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POSTED January 27, 2014-- 5:50 p.m.

Four days of school already canceled in the Sun Prairie School District just this month, but only three are accounted for each year. The last day of school is currently scheduled for Thursday, June 12. But assistant superintendent Alice Murphy says that will most likely now be June 13. But making up this lost time isn't as easy as tacking on days at the end of the year. Of the 180 days scheduled in a school year, every minute of instruction is accounted for.

"We'll be looking at how to put those minutes back in the days," said Murphy.

Each level has different school day lengths. Going into this week, Sun Prairie Elementary was already 60 minutes behind. To make up for time lost last year, minutes were added to the beginning and end of school days. That is an option for minutes lost this year.

"We were hoping to have a better circumstance this year; however, that's not the case," said Murphy.

But that can also cause other problems.

"Bus routes at elementary impacts middle school which impacts high school. Every time you make a 10 or 15 minute adjustment in a kids schedule, it affects the whole family," said Murphy.

A last resort is cutting into spring break or summer vacation.

"It comes at some inconvenience, but we will meet state law," said Murphy. "It takes a lot of careful planning to make these adjustments. We really do want to give our students the max set of instructions."