With Carroll County Public Schools having already used five inclement weather days this winter, after having allotted only four such days on the 2018-19 school calendar, the Carroll County Board of Education voted to add five days to the academic year to make sure the 180-day school year requirement is met.

The decision was made after Assistant Superintendent of Administration Jonathan O’Neal told the board Wednesday night that it had a few options to handle the discrepancy in school days — and needed to make the decision as soon as possible.


“You have two executive orders that accomplish the same thing,” he explained. “It is required you to start after Labor Day and end no later than June 15. Also, a bill that passed last year says you can extend five school days after June 15 if circumstances warrant that.”

O’Neal said other, less likely options included requesting a waiver for not meeting the 180-day school year requirement — which he said he did not believe Carroll County Public Schools qualified for at this time — or remaining open on state-mandated holidays to meet the executive orders.

The reason why the decision needs to be made so quickly, he said, is because a new mandate was passed in September requiring notification to the state within 10 days of every inclement weather day used and the makeup plan.

The Carroll County Board of Education voted to adopt its $334,979,586 budget for the 2020 fiscal year at its February meeting this week. 

If the county adds five days for inclement weather, Superintendent Steve Lockard said classes would let out on June 17 for students and June 18 for staff if no other inclement weather days are used this season.

“That gives us four more days that could come into play [and] I’m hopeful we don't go beyond that. I'm very uncomfortable thinking about asking about [coming into school on holidays]. There really is no ‘spring break’ if you will, and I'd like to keep those [existing days] intact to honor plans people have made,” Lockard said.

“I hope we don't use any more snow days, but I don't have that weather crystal ball.”

O’Neal said if CCPS used the entirety of the five additional days, then it would be eligible for the 180-day school year waiver.

“That would be the kind of circumstance where the state grants waivers of the 180-day requirement,” he said. “You would have done everything you possibly could at that point.”

Board Vice President Marsha Herbert agreed it would be a good idea to add extra five days.

“I don't think we’re out of the woods yet with this weather, and the next two weeks looks absolutely horrible, on and off again,” she said. “Dr. Lockard, this might be the best idea. Unfortunately, I don’t think we are going to have a choice and we can’t do anything about Mother Nature.”

Lockard said the last day of school will still be an early dismissal day, but the school board won’t officially announce the last day of classes until there is no more risk of inclement weather days.

“We aren't going to signal what the last day of school is until we get through these winter months,” he said.

Details will be sent out to parents in the coming weeks regarding the changes.