School year lengthened to make up snow closings Classes will end on June 24

April 15, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Carroll students can expect four more days of school in June.

The county school board yesterday voted unanimously to extend the current school calendar by four days to make up for days students and teachers have missed because of snow or bad weather.

Seven days of snow closings ruined the original June 18 closing day. School will end on June 24 for all students except seniors, who graduate June 18-20.

"[This is] one of the great opportunities in life to make a decision that makes nobody happy," Superintendent R. Edward Shilling said. "But it's what you believe."

Mr. Shilling said Carroll schools don't meet the criteria to seek a waiver from the 180-school day requirement from the State Board of Education.

To meet the criteria, a school system must show that it has a calendar designed to accommodate the normal number of snow days expected (ranging from three to 10 around the state) and must have already added five makeup days to the end of its year.

Carroll had three days built into its calendar, and will be adding four days, Mr. Shilling said.

The State Board of Education has granted one-day waivers to six counties. One circumstance that swayed the state board to grant waivers for Garrett and Washington counties was that the added days would have meant ending school on a Monday.

Carroll's original calendar called for school to end on a Friday. The additional days mean the school year will end on a Thursday.

The superintendent said the state board did a disservice by granting waivers to some counties that did not meet the criteria.

"We're going to be a model for our students," he said. "We've chosen to adhere to the [state] criteria."

Mr. Shilling said there were other reasons to adhere to the 180-day requirement. Despite a waiver, the system may have had to pay $340,835 a day in salaries for teachers and other 10-month employees.

It could have cost another $17,000 a day for food service workers, who are paid out of a separate budget with revenue coming from lunch sales.

"We also have a stewardship responsibility to the taxpayers," Mr. Shilling said.

Additionally, he said it would be unfair to grant a waiver to 10-month employees and not 12-month employees. He said salaries for 12-month employees, such as administrators and supervisors, cost $62,000 a day.

"It's an issue of equity," he said.

School officials acknowledged that the extended school year will cause some hardships for families who have planned vacations. Mr. Shilling also acknowledged that there may be high absenteeism.

"I know it will be hard for parents who have made arrangements for vacation," said board member John D. Myers Jr.

Board member Joseph D. Mish Jr. said the extras days should be for "instructional purposes" and "not play days." He said learning should not stop after exams are over.

Mr. Shilling said school principals will receive the message that "education is to go on until the end."

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