By Blair Ames, Baltimore Sun Media Group
3:15 PM EST, February 6, 2014
Carroll County students should be taking advantage of what remains of the snow day Thursday because they'll be losing a day off in the near future.
The Carroll County Board of Education voted 4-1 Thursday afternoon to make up a snow day Feb. 18. Board member Barbara Shreeve voted against the measure.
Feb. 18 had been a scheduled day off for students and professional development day for teachers.
Carroll County Public Schools has used seven snow days this school year, two more than what had been built into its schedule. The school system has also needed to delay school openings five times this year.
Superintendent Steve Guthrie said substituting class for the professional development day was "not the best-case scenario," but all school principals agreed that it is important that students are in class.
The school system will allow students who have made plans, such as family plans, to receive an excused absence, according to Guthrie.
If the school system did not schedule classes Feb. 18, it could have submitted a waiver to the state to not make up the day, take a day away from spring break, or add a day at the end of the year.
As requested by board member Jim Doolan, the board approved a motion clarifying that it would not take any days from spring break to make up a snow day.
Shreeve voted against the motion, arguing that if more make up days are needed, the school system should consider cutting from spring break, instead of having students in school through the third week of June.
Even with Thursday's vote, the board will submit a waiver application for remaining days missed once it is confident no more inclement weather days will be used, Guthrie said.
Guthrie said the decision to have school Feb. 18 would strengthen the board's waiver application, because it must demonstrate that it made attempts to make up missed school days, which put it below the 180-day requirement.
"I'm pretty sure we're going to have more emergency closing days," Guthrie said.
While schools were closed Thursday, school offices, including the central office, opened at 10 a.m.
Runnymede Elementary School and New Windsor Middle School remain without power as of 3 p.m.