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From the Superintendent: Feb. 7 School Update

Students smiling at Webber

February 7, 2019

Dear LOCS Families:

Following another school cancellation this morning, I would like to share our process with the community and the care placed into these decisions.

Our primary goal every day is to have school open and all students attending. That’s our mission and purpose and one we take seriously, trying to provide the best educational experience.

The only issue that takes precedence is student and staff safety. This is where the school closing decisions enter.

The process begins as soon as inclement weather enters the forecast. A meteorologist briefs Metro Detroit superintendents, including myself, leading up to the weather event, so we have all the pertinent information. The next step involves me consulting with our Operations and Transportation staff, who travel the roads the evening before school and in the early morning of the potential school day to assess the conditions for our buses to travel safely.

Our district is in a unique position, with an array of different neighborhoods. Our buses travel paved, heavily traveled roads, like M-24, Joslyn and Baldwin. They also pick up on a number of unpaved roads such as Indian Lake, East Clarkston or West Indianwood, where the weather has a much more serious effect, as with the ice in recent days. Without control over the roads, we rely on the Oakland County Road Commission for their treatment.

Even on days we’ve had school in recent weeks, LOCS buses encountered trouble in some of these areas, so those circumstances inform our decisions as well.

I would also like to share information on the LOCS school year calendar status.

Currently with 10 days of the district classes canceled due to weather, LOCS has exceeded the six allowed under state law. The state allows for three days (beyond the six) to be waived after an application process. LOCS plans to submit that application, but those are determined and approved on a case-by-case basis.

The state of Michigan requires that school districts meet two primary requirements: 180 days and at least 1,098 hours of instruction during that time.

Unfortunately, due to the extreme weather, LOCS is unlikely to meet those in 2018-19 with the current calendar.

As a result, the end of our school year will likely be extended. How long and by how much is a determination the LOCS Administration will make at the conclusion of the winter weather season. As soon as it is decided, it will be shared publicly, allowing families to plan.

All of these issues are challenging and often out of our control.

We can promise we will approach every day the same way, trying to provide the highest quality -- and safest – education possible for our students.

Thank you,

Marion Ginopolis, Superintendent