Snow Days & Private School: Who Should Pay?

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Snow days are part of the equation for anyone sending their child to a preschool in a place where it snows. We all know that once or twice a year, the school will close, the teachers will rejoice, and the kids will stay in their pajamas all day.

Winter 2011 is a whole other situation. The public schools in my area are looking at making up days on Saturdays, going further into the summer, or even going through spring break. I would feel bad for the children if I weren't the parent now.

When you're a kid, snow days are a blast, but as the parent, they are pretty much a giant bummer. And this winter? It's getting excessive.

My two children go to preschool three days a week and it costs us roughly $150 for each day they're there. This year, they've had five snow days and it's only February 4. I am no mathematician, but that seems like $750 in prepaid childcare that I paid for but didn't receive.

I am lucky to have a husband who understands that just because I work at home doesn't mean all snow days are on me. I have had help. But it still doesn't make it easy. As I write this, I have two crazy monkeys hanging on me, asking me questions, and in one case, growling like a dinosaur.

Grrrrr, indeed.

One or two snow days are understandable, but by the time this winter ends, we could be looking at 9 or more, which for us translates into three weeks of childcare we paid for but didn't receive. At a public school, the days would be made up. At a business, we wouldn't have to pay. At a certain point, someone besides the parents needs to eat some of the cost.

In talking to other moms, there are a few options different schools do:

  1. The school credits pre-paid tuition back to the parents for future bills.
  2. You simply don't pay for days canceled for snow (and the teachers don't get paid).
  3. Nothing, the parents just suck it up.
  4. The school eats the costs when they go past a certain number of days.

Right now, we're working with option number 3 and it just doesn't seem like the right thing to do. There may be a policy in place, but this winter has been unusually awful, so there needs to be some kind of compromise.

If a private school runs on the schedule of a public school, then it only makes sense that they also make up days like a public school, no?

What do you think? What does your school do?

Image via  di_the_huntress/Flickr

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