Madison schools will add 20 minutes to school day to make up for sick-outs

Madison schools will add 20 minutes to school day to make up for sick-outs

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classroom file photo

A teacher works in her empty third grade classroom in this file photo.

Students in the Madison School District will have up to 20 minutes of additional classroom time each day starting Monday to make up for four days canceled last month because teachers were attending protests.

Because no additional days will be added to the calendar, most teachers will not receive additional compensation for that time, district spokesman Ken Syke said.

Madison schools were closed to students Feb. 16-18 and Feb. 21 because a significant number of teachers called in sick to attend protests against a state proposal to limit public employee collective bargaining. Gov. Scott Walker signed it into law Friday.

The School Board reached an agreement with Madison Teachers Inc. over the weekend that allowed the district to set the makeup calendar. The agreement also ensures teachers with unexcused absences will not be paid for those days and that teachers who submitted fraudulent sick notes will be suspended.

The district has not yet released the number of teachers that missed school to work those days. The district received more than 1,000 sick notes, including some from doctors who were handing them out at the Capitol protests, assistant legal counsel Matt Bell said.

The Department of Public Instruction requires schools to have a specific number of days and hours of instruction during the school year. The extra time will be added to the end of the school day and vary between elementary, middle and high schools:

• Elementary schools will have 20 minutes added per day, a full day on March 29, rather than a half-day, and 65 minutes added on the last day of school, June 10.

• Middle schools will have 12 minutes added per day, including Wednesdays, which will replace professional collaboration time.

• East, West and Memorial high schools will have 15 minutes and La Follette High School will have 18 minutes added. Those will be on top of minutes already added for a Feb. 2 snow day. The last day of school will be a full day instead of half-day.

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