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Snow days may push Allegheny Valley graduation ahead

| Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010

Allegheny Valley School District directors likely will push this year's high school graduation ceremony into the second week of June in order to make up snow days.

While they said they will explore different possibilities over the next couple of weeks, directors indicated they have few options.

"We may have to extend graduation by a day or two into the next week, simply because we have no alternatives," board President Scott Redman said.

Graduation is slated for June 4.

Students have missed five days because of heavy snowfall. Redman said two could be made up during spring break — April 2 and 5. A third could be made up March 19, which was dedicated to staff development.

The prospect of delaying graduation doesn't sit well with many high school seniors. More than 30 of them attended last night's board meeting to voice concerns.

Cayley Perrett, 17, of Harmar told the board that many families already booked banquet halls for graduation parties.

She also said many seniors have out-of-town relatives with set travel arrangements for graduation weekend.

Redman said directors will do their best to make the calendar changes as soon as possible so that families can adjust plans.

He also cautioned that more days could be missed because of winter storms. If that happens, he said, any effort to avoid delaying graduation "becomes moot."

Joseph Ober, 18, of Springdale asked directors if holding weekend classes would be possible. He noted that area colleges and universities will be holding Saturday classes to make up days missed last week.

Redman said holding school on a Saturday would be an outside possibility — one that would need approval from the state Department of Education.

Leslie Sosovicka, 18, of Springdale asked if the state could waive the missed days because of the state of emergency declared by Gov. Ed Rendell.

District officials said there's little chance the governor or state Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak would offer the district special dispensation.

Superintendent Cheryl Griffith said districts must prove to the state they were forced to cancel classes for reasons such as lack of power or because schools were used as community shelters.

"We've had no extraordinary circumstances," she said.

For that reason, district officials probably won't petition the state for a waiver, Griffith said.

Redman, meantime, said he expects the board to vote on the calendar changes during the first committee meeting in March.

He also said directors are discussing options for building snow days into next year's school calendar.

Additional Information:

Coming up

Who: Allegheny Valley School Board

What: Decision on when to make up five snow days

When: 6 p.m. March 2

Where: Rachel Carson Room, Springdale Junior-Senior High School, Butler Street, Springdale

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