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State Denies MCPS Request For Snow Day Waivers

By Aaron Kraut

Tuesday - 4/1/2014, 8:05am  ET

Snowy December day in BethesdaThe state superintendent of schools has denied Montgomery County’s request for a five-day waiver of snowed out school days, but said MCPS can resubmit a plan that would mean fewer school days missed.

On March 26, State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery let MCPS know its request to waive five make-up days at the end of the school year would mean too much missed instructional time.

MCPS originally asked for a four-day waiver, but that was before the March 17 snow storm that meant a 10th day of no school because of snow. There are four extra days of instruction above the state minimum built into the MCPS calendar.

The four extra days and five-day waiver would have meant a school year extended just one extra day, making the last day of school June 13, 2014.

In a letter to MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr, Lowery asked MCPS to come up with a proposal that would mean more class time:

I note that in the school calendar provided to the Maryland State Department of Education, your school system as developed a school contingency calendar for this school year, which would extend your calendar by up to nine days should your system be disrupted by emergencies and school closures. The student calendar has been extended by one day, making the last day of school June 13, 2014.

Your request does not demonstrate an effort to modify the school calendar to make up for lost instructional time. Therefore, I must deny your request. As you deem appropriate, you may resubmit your request in light of the expectations cited above.

The state last week also rejected a five-day waiver request from Anne Arundel County.

So don’t act on those mid-June vacation or summer camp plans just yet. MCPS went back to the drawing board on Monday and hopes to have a quick resolution:

MCPS Superintendent Joshua P. Starr said he will consult with the Board of Education to consider other options before deciding whether to submit a modified waiver request. He said a decision about whether to submit such a request would be made early this week and the state has indicated they would respond quickly.  Once MCPS knows how many days of instruction it will have to make up, parents, students, staff, and community members will be notified of any changes to the calendar.