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Education
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Title: School districts use `Act of God' days
Source: qconline
URL Source: http://qconline.com/archives/qco/display.php?id=328755
Published: Mar 1, 2007
Author: Robin J. Youngblood
Post Date: 2007-03-01 21:18:31 by TLBSHOW
Keywords: None
Views: 523

Only an "Act of God" will keep kids from spending more days in school this summer.

Riverdale School District in Port Byron has used up its allotted five snow days and now is using "Act of God" days that won't have to be made up at the end of the school year. Those missed days are caused by events no one has control over, such as the weather.

Wednesday was the third consecutive day Riverdale students didn't attend school due to power and water complications that resulted from the weekend ice storm.

Rock Island County regional superintendent Joe Vermeire said districts must have those "Act of God" days approved by both the regional office and state board of education. The district superintendent details to both offices why canceling school was necessary.

"We haven't used `Act of God' days in years," Mr. Vermeire said, adding that none have been used within the last 10 years.

Due to the power outage over the weekend, Riverdale superintendent Ron Jacobs said a coil in the motor that operates the well pump malfunctioned. It wasn't until Wednesday morning that Mr. Jacobs found a replacement part, but the pump can't filter water until the electricity returns.

Without water the district couldn't teach classes "for the safety of the children," he said. According to Mr. Vermeire, only a couple thousand gallons of water remained in their storage tank. Also, district buildings still are without power for periods of time - being on one minute and off the next.

"We started the day with full power, but since 9 a.m. have been without power again," Mr. Jacobs said, and then the phone line went dead.

From his cell phone, Mr. Jacobs said he hopes power will return to the schools soon.

"I'm thinking positively," he said. "I do know that MidAmerican is aware of the problem. I believe there are some lines in front of our middle school that are causing the problem."

Power outages and poor road conditions have affected other primarily rural districts such as Sherrard and Rockridge. Schools were canceled there Monday and Tuesday due to power outages and road conditions. Cambridge, Rockridge and Orion canceled schools Monday. About 16 districts in the Quad-Cities area didn't have school Monday, and a handful still were out on Tuesday.

Sherrard and Cambridge both have used all their five snow days. Sherrard's last day of school now will be June 7. Cambridge and Riverdale both will end school May 30.

The Phoenix Program, an alternative school for junior and high school students in Carbon Cliff, has been closed since Monday because it didn't have power. Principal Michelle Hammond said Wednesday power was restored early in the afternoon but the furnace wouldn't light and there was eight inches of water in the basement since the sump pump didn't have electricity. She's hoping to have school today, however.

Because they've also used all five snow days, the last day for students there will be June 1.

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