The long cold winter may be coming to an end, but students will have to remain in school for one more day. Interim Superintendent of Schools Larry A. Bowers announced yesterday that the Montgomery County Schools will extend the school year by one day.
The last day of school this year will now be Monday, June 15, which will be an early release day. A teacher workday scheduled for June 15 will now be held on Tuesday, June 16. Bowers announced the change at the Montgomery County Board of Education meeting on Monday evening.
Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery has approved a plan that will allow MCPS to go two days below the 180 days of instruction required by state law. Under the plan approved on Monday, MCPS will extend the school year by one day to make up some of the instructional time lost due to inclement weather.
“I want to thank Dr. Lowery and the State Board for their flexibility and for recognizing the challenges this harsh winter created for local school systems,” Bowers said. “I am pleased that we can now finalize our calendar so our parents, students, and staff can plan accordingly.”
The 2014-2015 calendar adopted by the Montgomery County Board of Education included 184 days of instruction, with the last day of school originally scheduled for Friday, June 12. The four additional days built into the calendar allow for the district to close for weather or other emergency conditions up to four times and still meet the minimum number of required instructional days. Most years, the additional four days are adequate but, in 2014-2015, MCPS has had seven snow days.
The Board-approved calendar also includes five contingency days—June 15 through June 19—on which school will be held if MCPS closes for more than four days due to weather conditions. While MCPS was prepared to follow the contingency calendar, adding these three days to the end of the year will cost between $1.7 million and $2 million, mostly due to personnel costs. Given financial concerns in the county, the Montgomery County Board of Education authorized Bowers to request a waiver of up to three days from the state.
Earlier in March, Bowers submitted a waiver request to the Maryland State Department of Education seeking a waiver of three days. A week later, on March 24, the Maryland State Board of Education gave Dr. Lowery the authority to grant waivers, but indicated they wanted to see districts try to make up at least some of the instructional time that was lost due to inclement weather.
To meet the State Board's goal, Bowers revised the district’s request so that MCPS would receive a waiver of two days and would make up one instructional day in accordance with the contingency calendar. Dr. Lowery informed the district Monday afternoon that the revised waiver request had been approved.