Frederick County Public School students will be attending classes fewer days this year. That's because a request for a two-day waiver to the 180 days students are required to be in school was granted by the State Superintendent of Schools.
In March, the Maryland State Board of Education granted the State Superintendent the authority to grant waiver up to five days. Each request would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Local Board of Education member Brad Young was asked why the county didn't go for a five-day waiver. "Our State Superintendent had announced that she would consider waivers of up to five days from various counties throughout the state. But she predicated that based on the fact they would look and see how many days the system had missed and what effort you had made to make them up," he said.
Young said the State Superintendent was impressed with how Frederick County had identified some days to help make up for the lost school days, and granted the waiver.
Montgomery and Anne Arundel Counties each requested five-day waivers, but were turned down.
Frederick County students missed 12 days of school this winter due to the snow, ice and cold temperatures, and only five snow days are built into the academic calendar. The school system used a teacher work day on March 21st as a make up day, and took four days out of the spring break to make up the lost days. (April 14th, 15th, 16th and 21st). "We were still two days short and we would have had to add two days to the end of the school year. Now, with the two-day waiver, we can use that for those last two days and end school at the regularly scheduled end day," he says. The last day of classes is June 11th.
Young also says he's heard from parents about the Board of Ed's decision to use some of the spring break for make up days because some families had planned vacations during that time. "And while I sympathize with them, the most important thing and the only thing we should be considering here is what's in the best interests of students and that's getting them educated," he says.
The academic calendar for 2014-2015 has five days set aside for snow days. But Young says the Board of Ed has identified five additional days in case the county has a hard winter next year.