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The last day of school for Howard County public school students will be June 19, pending no additional snow days and a waiver from the state Board of Education.

The Howard County Board of Education voted 7-1 Thursday to extend the school year to June 19 and request a one-day waiver from the state in the wake of eight snow days and eight delayed openings this year. Cindy Vaillancourt cast the lone opposing vote.

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The school system had allocated five snow days in its calendar, with the original last day of school set for June 10.

State law requires a minimum of 180 days in the school year and with eight snow days, the final day of school for Howard students would be Monday June 22. Howard school officials plan to seek a one-day waiver from State Superintendent Lillian Lowery to close schools on June 19, leaving them with 179 days in the school calendar.

Caryn Lasser, school system coordinator of strategic planning and chair of the calendar committee, told the board Thursday that there is a "good chance" the waiver will be approved since the school system's scheduled 180th day of school falls on a Monday.

In addition to the requirement of a 180-day school calendar, the state mandates a minimum of 1,170 scheduled hours for high schools. The school system had scheduled 1,182 hours of high school instruction, but delayed openings this year have left county high schools four hours below that minimum standard.

To make up for these hours, high school students will attend a full day of school June 17 and have a two-hour early dismissal on June 18. All schools, not only high schools, will dismiss two hours early on June 18.

The school board also approved a flexible professional work day for teachers and support personnel to meet the contracted 192 work days for staff. This flexible work day will occur on or before Friday, June 19.

Commencement dates announced

The Howard County Public School System, on Thursday, announced the commencement ceremony schedule for the 2014-15 school year.

The schedule is as follows:

Thursday, May 21

• Noon - Wilde Lake

• 4 p.m. - Glenelg

• 8 p.m. - Reservoir

Friday, May 22

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• 9:30 a.m. – Cedar Lane School

Tuesday, May 26

• Noon – Atholton

• 4 p.m. – Long Reach

• 8 p.m. – Oakland Mills

Thursday, May 28

• Noon- Marriotts Ridge

• 4 p.m. – Hammond

• 8 p.m. – Mt. Hebron

Friday , May 29

• 8 a.m. – River Hill

• Noon – Centennial

• 4 p.m. – Howard

All commencement ceremonies, except the Cedar Lane School graduation, will take place at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The Cedar Lane ceremony will take place at the Cedar Lane School.

All graduation ceremonies for the class of 2015 will be streamed live online and available on demand within minutes of each ceremony's end. Ceremonies also can be seen on the HCPSS cable TV stations, Comcast Channel 95 and Verizon Channel 42, within 24 hours of each event.

DVDs of the commencement ceremonies also will be available for purchase. Full details on the broadcast schedule and viewing information will be available in the coming weeks, according to a school system news release.

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