Decision tonight on how to make up snow time

March 22, 1994|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Sun Staff Writer

The Baltimore County school board is to decide tonight how the time lost to the bad winter weather will be made up. As it did two weeks ago, Superintendent Stuart Berger's staff again will recommend making up the time by extending the school day 45 minutes -- the option that staff members think would result in the best quality instruction time, said Deputy Superintendent Anthony Marchione.

For nearly two weeks, board members and school administrators have looked to teachers, parents and other county residents for guidance on the best way to make up five "snow days" -- by extending the school day or the school year.

About half of those affected prefer to add 45 minutes to school days in April and May and half want to add an extra week of school in June.

Board members will be making their decision during their regular meeting at 8 p.m. at the Ruxton School at 6916 Charles St.

And Dr. Berger already has told the board that no matter what it decides, "you are not going to please 50 percent of the people."

Last week, Dr. Marchione's office asked all principals to poll their staffs on a preference. The result: 68 schools for an extended day; 68 for an extra week, and nine schools so split they could reach no decision, he said. At a public hearing last week, several speakers suggested splitting the time by adding 20 minutes in the morning and 25 in the afternoon. Ray Suarez, president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, put forth another hybrid: add 30 minutes to the school day for two months and turn four half-days scheduled during the last week of school into full days.

The board could incorporate any or all of these suggestions into its final plan.

Dr. Marchione said lawyers for state Department of Education told the school system it did not have to negotiate the extended day with TABCO, as originally thought, because the matter involves state law and state regulations.

After the board resolves this year's calendar problems, it will move directly to next year's. When calendar crises arose this year, board member Sanford V. Teplitzky asked the '94-'95 calendar committee to reconvene and take another look at next year's calendar, which already has been approved by the board.

Dr. Marchione said that has been done and the committee will recommend only one slight change: designating two days of spring break as "snow days," to be used after the regular ones. If the board goes along with that committee, school will open next year on Sept. 8 with three snow days on the calendar.

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