Board of Education votes to use Feb. 21, March 11 as snow makeup days


Carroll County students may not have to make up snow days at the end of the year, but they will have to go to class on Presidents Day and March 11, which was supposed to be a teacher professional day.

The Board of Education voted yesterday to have school on those two days to avoid extending the school year into the third week of June.

They briefly considered having school tomorrow, a scheduled teacher professional day, but decided against that because of the short notice to students and parents.

Superintendent R. Edward Shilling said it might be especially hard to alert parents if school is called off today because of bad weather.

Only board member Carolyn L. Scott voted to have school Friday, saying that radio, TV and newspapers could alert parents the same way they inform them when school is closed for weather.

If school is in session today and the schools have no more days off for weather, it is possible students will be out of school June 16, a day earlier than the scheduled June 17.

But with bad weather predicted today, and the fact that the schools have used up all their snow days before the end of January, no one was expecting an early end to the school year.

By yesterday, schools had been off for six days because of bad weather.

They were closed Jan. 4, 12, 18, 19, 20 and 21. They also had several days of late starts or early dismissals.

Only three days off were built into the calendar so that it would amount to the state-mandated 180 days for students.

Based on the original contingency plan, schools will lose two of their spring break days March 31 and April 5.

The Board of Education yesterday, on the recommendation of Superintendent R. Edward Shilling and some staff, voted to have students come to school Feb. 21, Presidents Day, instead of making up a snow day on Monday, June 20, as the last day of school.

And in case another snow day is used, students will have the March 11 day as insurance against having to come back on P PTC Monday for their last day.

Mr. Shilling said the state will consider granting a waiver to a school system for coming back on a Monday for its last day only if the students have already made up five days and have built three days into their calendar.

Carroll would qualify on both counts, should weather cause more than one more day off.

Mr. Shilling said there are no other days remaining within the year to legally have children and teachers come to school.

To make up for the professional day March 11, teachers will work an extra day at the end of the school year to complete the 189 days required by their contracts.

Mr. Shilling said those days could be useful for anything from record-keeping to staff development or review of ways the schools are trying to improve.

Cynthia Cummings, president of the Carroll County Education Association, said she supported making up the school days in February and March instead of at the end of the year, when students are too hot in their classrooms to concentrate.

"The teachers don't mind" making up days at the end of the year if the students are not there, she said.

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