Spring break gets three days longer Mild winter means more days off

March 13, 1997|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

Carroll County students and teachers will have three extra days of spring break this year, a dividend from mild weather that required schools to close only one day so far this winter.

The county school board affirmed last night that spring break would begin March 25 and schools would reopen April 1. If the weather takes a turn for the worse between now and March 25 and schools have to close, spring break would start March 26.

It could happen, said board member Ann M. Ballard.

"Of course, they're calling for rain Friday, starting with sleet," she warned at last night's school board meeting at Runnymede Elementary School.

The 1996-1997 school calendar contained four snow days and the board promised if they were not used they would be added to spring break.

At the time, just after the blizzard of 1996, it was discussed as a remote possibility.

But this month, elementary school newsletters gave parents a heads-up, reminding them that spring break probably was going to start early.

Ballard said she has received five phone calls from parents who aren't happy about it. She tried to get the board to hold on to one of the spring break days in case of bad weather in April. If April is mild, school could let out for the summer a day early, June 5 instead of June 6.

Ballard's move failed by a 3-2 vote. She was joined by board member Carolyn L. Scott.

"They [parents] told me it's harder to get day care around the Easter holiday than it is at the end of the school year," Ballard said.

The last day of school, June 6, would be a better time to use one of the days, she said. Students are scheduled to leave two hours early that day.

But Superintendent Brian Lockard and several staff members said changing plans now would be a problem.

"My opinion is it will be confusing and look as though we don't know what we're doing," he said.

Board members C. Scott Stone and Joseph D. Mish said that although Ballard's idea was a good one, the calendar was set a year ago and shouldn't be changed this late.

"I'm reluctant to alter the calendar," Stone said. "I just regret we lacked the foresight a year ago."

Gregory Eckles, director of secondary education, said ending school a day early would present a problem for seniors, who will have graduation rehearsals June 6. Rehearsals and graduation ceremonies cannot be changed because they are scheduled at Western Maryland College.

"We would be asking seniors to come to school on a nonschool day," he said.

Steve Guthrie, a personnel specialist, said staff members have been expecting the calendar to remain unchanged.

"They may or may not have any plans, but I just wanted to express that," Guthrie said.

Pub Date: 3/13/97

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