Madison schools will close Wednesday due to ‘excessive staff absences’

From Wisconsin State JournalMadison school district officials have canceled school Wednesday.

“Due to substantial concerns of excessive staff absences, the Madison School District is forced to close all of our schools to students on Wednesday, February 16, 2011,” according to an e-mail from the Madison School District sent at 11 p.m. Tuesday. “We regret having to make this decision, but with the significant percentage of staff members reporting absences for Wednesday we can not assure the safety of all students.”

According to the district, as of Tuesday night 40 percent of the 2,600 members of the teacher bargaining unit called in sick.

“It is expected that this number will continue to increase through Wednesday morning,” the e-mail said. “At this ratio we have serious concerns about our ability to maintain safe and secure school environments.”

Officials said despite a substantial number of substitute teachers, there are not enough available teachers to come close to filling the need for Wednesday.

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