(PDF) April 25, 2018 – At their April meeting, the Maryland State Board of Education denied the request from Caroline County Public Schools (CCPS) to waive two school days missed due to inclement weather. In addition to denying Caroline’s waiver, requests from Cecil, Howard, Queen Anne’s, and Somerset school systems were denied. Waiver requests from Baltimore County, Kent, and St. Mary’s school systems were granted.
“We are deeply disappointed by the state board’s denial of our request,” Superintendent Patricia Saelens stated. “Our students exceed the instructional hours required by state law. However, six inclement weather closures caused us to fall short of the 180 days also required by state law.”
Dr. Saelens continued, “Our school system should not have been penalized for building a responsible, lean calendar that lacked an extended spring break that could be adjusted. We should not have been penalized for scheduling professional development days early in the year rather than in the spring when they could be cancelled. With no flexibility between now and the end of the school year, the State Board’s denial of our request leaves us with no alternative but make our last day for students Tuesday, June 19.”
The CCPS calendar was adopted within the parameters of state law and Governor Lawrence Hogan’s Executive Order that the school year begin after Labor Day and conclude no later than June 15. Since that time, the General Assembly passed legislation that authorized local boards of education to extend the school year for up to five days beyond June 15 without State Board approval. State law also requires three (3) inclement weather days be built into calendars; CCPS allotted four (4).
Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Milton Nagel acknowledges the likelihood of low student attendance on June 18 and 19. “The possibility of an extension beyond June 15 was never considered or communicated to our students and their families who may have made plans that are not easily changed. We can assume higher than average absenteeism on those days but will still have to operate a full bus schedule and prepare the same number of meals. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars but we have no choice.”
The CCPS school calendar is now amended to reflect:
June 14 – full day for all students
June 15 – full day for all students; last day for Pre-K
June 18 – ½ day for students
June 19 – ½ day – last day for students