Unless Carroll schools see more snow, system unlikely to request waiver

Scenes from Wednesday's Spring snowstorm in Carroll County.

Despite using more snow days than were built into this year’s calendar, Carroll County Public Schools won’t seek a waiver from the state, unless the county sees enough snow to close schools at least one more time before the school year ends.

The school system used the sixth and final inclement weather day built into the 2017-18 calendar last Wednesday and an additional day last Thursday after a storm dumped a foot of snow in some places in Carroll County on the first few days of spring.


As it stands now, the last day of class for CCPS students will be Friday, June 15, but teachers would have a professional day on Monday, June 18.

Gov. Larry Hogan, in August 2016, mandated public schools in Maryland start after Labor Day but end for students no later than June 15.

In an interview with the Times, Superintendent Stephen Guthrie said Monday there are a handful of jurisdictions in the state that are already requesting waivers.

“It’s unlikely that we will be one of them,” he said.

While the school system built in six days, and used seven, they have some flexibility by ending school for students on the Friday — with an early dismissal — and having teachers go back on the following Monday.

“It’s not ideal,” he said. “We tried to avoid it, but that’s the way it happened.”

The question now, Guthrie said, is what happens if there is more snow that causes another snow day.

“That looks to be unlikely, but it certainly could happen,” he added.

In that case, Guthrie said, he would bring a waiver request for Board of Education approval. Guthrie clarified the request would be to waive the 180-day requirement, not to go beyond the June 15 date. For all intents and purposes, he said, regardless of whether the school system has to use another inclement weather day, the last day for students will be June 15.

Teresa McCulloh, president of the Carroll County Education Association, said this problem is a prime example of why jurisdictions should have local control over their calendars, instead of having them be mandated.

McCulloh also said this change affects the students.

“We are in support of what’s in the best interest of students,” she added.

Last year, CCPS requested and was granted a waiver. Carroll County students were scheduled to end the year June 12, which was a Monday, but was approved to waive one day and end on that Friday, June 9.

The change caused concern for some jurisdictions across the state. This past year, CCPS passed the 2018-2019 calendar after Guthrie proposed two options, stating “neither calendar is a good one.” In addition to state-mandated holidays, which include Good Friday and the Monday after Easter, next year’s school calendar must also account for two Jewish holidays; an election in November; and June 15, the last day schools can operate per the mandate, falling on a Saturday.