To the disappointment of several parents and students, Carroll County Public School students will lose two days from their spring break and attend school an additional day into the summer as a result of the snow, ice and other cold weather that prompted school officials to close schools for 10 days this winter.

The school board unanimously approved a plan at its Wednesday meeting in Westminster that shortens spring break by two days and adds a day to the end of the school year to meet a state mandate requiring students to attend school for 180 days of the year.


The board approved make-up days of March 30 and 31, both part of spring break, and June 12, a professional development day for teachers. Spring break was scheduled for March 30 through April 6. It will now begin April 1. In a proposed plan that Superintendent Stephen Guthrie submitted last month, the system considered using April 1 as a make-up day, but decided instead to add the day at the end of the year.

Four days were built into the school calendar for emergency closings, but the system used 10, said Carey Gaddis, a spokeswoman for county public schools.

The three make-ups leave the system three days short of the state-mandated 180 school days, for which the system will request a waiver, Guthrie said.

If any other wintry weather forces officials to close schools this year, the days will be made up at the end of the year, Guthrie said.

The board also approved a measure that will extend the third marking period from March 27 to March 31. March 27, previously the day before spring break, will become a full day of school. Students will be dismissed two-hours and 45-minutes early on March 31 for teachers to work on grades.

A parent and teacher spoke at the meeting to express concern about a shortened spring break. They said a adding extra days to the end of the year would be a better alternative.

Tony Roman, a social studies teacher at North Carroll High School, told the school board that shortening spring break makes it difficult for teachers when students don't show up to class because of previous travel plans.

"Our attendance is going to drop — students aren't going to be there; families make commitments and then we're back to the same situation we've been in for the last few days," Roman said. "I'm already getting requests that 'my child isn't going to be here — what are you going to do to supply them with work?' "

School systems that request a waiver must devise a plan to make up for their additional closures, said William Reinhard, spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education.

Carroll isn't the only county to use additional emergency days for winter weather this year. Snow, sleet and freezing rain caused Harford, Howard, Frederick, Garrett and Anne Arundel counties to use more days than were built into their school calendars.

Baltimore County and Baltimore City have used all of their snow days allotted for emergency closings this year, according to officials.

Garrett County has already requested a waiver from the state board of education of the 180-day requirement, Reinhard said.

Last year, all 24 school systems in the state requested waivers of between one and five days and made some sort of modification to their school calendar, Reinhard said.

Carroll County received a five-day waiver and added five days to its school calendar last year, Reinhard said.


The county used 12 emergency closing days last year, according to information provided by the school system.

The National Weather Service, which forecasts weather seven days ahead of time, said there is a storm system brewing that could bring rain to the area Friday through Saturday, but no snow is predicted through Wednesday, said Dan Hofmann, an NWS meteorologist.

A winter storm that dumped 6.6 to 12.5 inches across the county on March 5 and 6 caused school closings and the greatest snowfall totals this winter, according to NWS data.

The first official day of spring is March 20, and the possibility of snow after that time is there, though small, Hofmann said.

"I'm not going to say it's impossible, but it doesn't look like it could happen," Hofmann said.

Guthrie, who makes the decision to close schools in emergencies, said the school system has an administrative regulation allowing for four to seven emergency days in the school calendar.

"There is no accurate way to predict the number of snow days," Guthrie said before the meeting. "We have been all over the map as far as the number of snow days go."

In the 2011-2012 year, schools did not close at all; in 2012-2013, they closed for five days; and last year, schools were closed 12 days.

"There is certainly not an exact science when it comes to predicting snow days," Guthrie said.

Guthrie said the school system will build five days into next year's calendar.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story wasn't clear about the early dismissal on March 31.