Montgomery schools get nod on new snow waiver request -- Gazette.Net


This story was updated at 4:15 p.m., April 3, 2014.

Montgomery’s students will have to make up just two snow days — one on April 21, the Monday after Easter, and one tacked on to the end of the school year, according to a new plan approved by the Maryland State Department of Education Tuesday.

That announcement answers the lingering question of when summer vacation will start — now June 14.

Montgomery County Public Schools on Tuesday prepared a request to waive four days of instruction lost due to wintry weather, after its five-day request was denied Monday.

With the new plan approved, no other snow days will have to be made up .

The 2013-2014 school calendar, as approved by the state, has 184 days of instruction, with four snow days built in. The county’s school system has had 10 snow days this school year, six days under the 180 days of instruction required by state law.

On Tuesday, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery granted a waiver that allows the county’s school system to go four days below the required days of instruction if school is held on April 21 and June 13.

“We appreciate Dr. Lowery’s recognition that this has been a very unusual winter and her willingness to grant us some flexibility in our calendar,” said Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr said in a press release. “By holding classes on April 21 and June 13, we can make up two valuable days of instruction without significantly disrupting our community’s summer schedules.”

Dana Tofig, a county school system spokesman, said students and staff are expected to attend the make-up day on Easter Monday, which is normally a school system holiday.

“We recognize that it is an inconvenience for many employees, students, and families, but there were limited options and the Board and the Superintendent felt this was the best way to add two meaningful days of instruction,” Tofig said in an email.

School board member Rebecca Smondrowski (Dist. 2) of Gaithersburg also said the plan was the necessary route.

“This was an extraordinary winter and while having to make up the time this way may bring with it challenges for some families, it’s what we need to do,” she said in an email.

Staff writer Lindsay A. Powers contributed to this report.