Students may lose some vacation days

February 23, 1994|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writer

Anne Arundel County students will probably lose a day of spring break and have three days in June tacked onto the school year to make up for four days school was closed due to winter weather.

Interim Superintendent Carol S. Parham will recommend that the school board adopt that plan tonight rather than add four days to the end of the school year. Students missed eight days in January and February, but only four emergency closing days were built into the school calendar. The state requires students to have 180 days of school.

The changes Dr. Parham favors have an added practical advantage. A school system can seek a state waiver not to make up lost classroom days only after it has both modified its calendar and extended the school year. Should there be more emergency closings this year, Anne Arundel schools would be in a better position to seek the waiver.

However, reclaiming the Thursday of spring break would interfere with vacations that school employees or students and their families may have planned for the five-day break scheduled for Thursday, March 31 through Monday, April 4. Friday and Monday are state-mandated closings.

Thomas Paolino, president of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County, said he would object to anyone who has nonrefundable reservations for spring break having to take a vacation day or being penalized for missing the Thursday. Because a statement on the school calendar says that makeup days would be added to the end of the school year, people feel comfortable making nonrefundable spring break reservations, he said.

"It's really not fair to them," he said.

He said he may try to come up with an alternate proposal.

School was scheduled to end May 26 for seniors and June 14 for all other students.

Adding all four days at the end of the calendar would push the school year into the next week.

Students might be dismissed early June 16 and 17. The later into June school runs, the more likely it is that the heat will become a consideration. About half of the schools are not air conditioned.

The board also will adopt its fiscal 1995 operating and capital budgets. The operating budget, which was tentatively $414.2 million, is likely to rise by about $4.4 million to $418.6 million.

County government officials have asked the school system to increase its spending in two areas. First, the tentatively budgeted $10.1 million for debt service needs to rise by $2.4 million to cover county government bonds, said acting finance director Jack White. The school system's contribution to the county's self-insurance fund, tentatively budgeted at $1.3 million, should be $2 million higher. Last year, an actuarial study indicated the county's self-insurance fund was undercapitalized.

The school system has added those requests as budget increases, instead of decreasing spending in other areas. "Hopefully, the county will give it to us," Mr. White said.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Board of Education offices in Annapolis.

The proposed capital budget is for $84.8 million, with nearly half the money going toward construction of an addition at Broadneck Senior High and toward construction of a new middle school for the Meade feeder system.

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