March 29, 1993

With the prospect that public schools may have to stay open until June 24, due to this month's rash of snow days, Carroll's parents and students are worried that the last few days of school will be a bake-in.

While students are stewing in their classrooms before their summer recess, they might note that one of the reasons for the late close is that school started after Labor Day. The system also lost an extraordinary number of days due to the weather. The combination has put the system in a real bind.

Under Maryland law, the school year must contain 180 days. If Carroll schools were to close on June 18, as scheduled, the year would be short four days. Between now and the planned end of school, there is no way to make up those days. Three holidays remain; two are mandated by the state, Good Friday and Easter Monday, and the third, Memorial Day, is a national holiday.

The only way school can end on schedule is for the county to receive a waiver from the required 180-day school year. It appears that the Maryland Board of Education will reject requests for a shortened school year. The school board is scheduled to discuss this issue at its meeting on April 14.

Meanwhile, parents are already complaining that extending school for a week will disrupt planned vacations, Bible schools and summer camps. They are faced with a choice: Pull the kids out of school early and miss the last four days, or start summer programs late. Because the last days of school, in some cases, consist of cleaning out desks, watching videos and extended recesses, some parents won't be bothered if their children miss the last week. Others may be content to start summer programs a little late.

Next year, school is scheduled to start after a late Labor Day again, which means the school year will end in mid-June. There is no way to anticipate how many days will be lost to snow, but the Board of Education might consider shifting some dates to avoid another extended year. Rather than schedule four professional days for teachers in fall and winter, the board might slate them for spring. If more snow days occur than anticipated, some professional days could be sacrificed. That would make more sense than having students and teachers parboil in classrooms into June's waning days.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.