It is January, and many New Jersey school districts must think about the remainder of the school year with bad weather as a possibility.

Frank Belluscio of the New Jersey School Boards Association said by state law, school districts must hold 180 days of instruction each school year. As for the number of so-called "snow days" in the year, Belluscio said, "it is determined by the local school district. They have control over the school calendar."

He said some districts do not bake any snow days into their schedules and just lop off discretionary days to make up for snow, such as president's day. In most cases, you will see about three snow days built into the calendar.

But some districts may not use extra snow days that they have planned. Belluscio said in that case, the end of the school year would come sooner than expected. He says if we are fortunate enough to have a mild winter, and school districts do not use any of their snow days, is those days may not be used for instructional purposes — the number of instructional days in a school year is determined by the teachers' union contract.

According to The New Jersey School Boards Association, the local boards of education do have discretion over the school calendar. Belluscio added "that is appropriate, because communities are different, students' backgrounds are different, faculties' backgrounds are different. It really requires a local perspective to have a calendar that meets the educational needs of the students, and also takes into account many contingencies, such as bad weather."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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