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MCPS May Need to Extend School Year Due to Snow Days

March 11, 2014

MCPS May Need to Extend School Year Due to Snow Days
As of March 6, MCPS has had a total of nine emergency weather days (snow days). The 2013-2014 school calendar, as approved by the Montgomery County Board of Education, has four snow days built in, so MCPS is five days over its allotted number of snow days.

The state of Maryland requires districts provide at least 180 days of instruction. Unless MCPS receives a state waiver from this requirement, five instructional days will be added to the end of the school year as outlined in the Board-approved calendar. The last day of school for students would be Thursday, June 19. Parents are asked to plan accordingly.

The Maryland State Department of Education has not yet begun accepting applications for a waiver of the 180-day requirement. When they do, MCPS will decide whether to apply for a waiver, and how many days it will seek to have waived.

Below is a more detailed explanation of how the snow days could impact the MCPS school calendar:

Information about Snow Days and the 2013-2014 School Calendar

The state of Maryland requires school districts to offer 180 days of instruction. The MCPS calendar for the 2013-2014 school year, approved by the Montgomery County Board of Education, includes 184 days of instruction, meaning there are four emergency weather days (aka “snow days”) built into the calendar. The calendar also includes five “contingency” days on which school will be held if MCPS has more than four snow days. These contingency days are tacked on to the end of the school year so that the district can meet the minimum days of instruction required by the state. You can see the contingency days at the bottom of the school calendar.

So far this year, MCPS has had nine snow days, meaning the district has exceeded by five the number of days built into the calendar. The last day of school for MCPS was originally scheduled for Thursday, June 12. Without a waiver from the state, the last day will have to be moved to Thursday, June 19, in order to meet the 180-day state requirement. There are no plans to change Spring Break at this time.

MCPS can apply for a waiver from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) that would allow the district to go below the 180-day requirement. A decision about whether to apply for that waiver will be made later in the year, once we know how many snow days the district has had and MSDE begins accepting waiver requests. Although MCPS has received such waivers in the past, it is not guaranteed that the district would receive one this year.

The fact that Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley declared a state of emergency on February 13 and 14 may make it more likely that a waiver would be granted for these snow days, but it is not guaranteed. The district would still need to apply for such a waiver.

 


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