Why get paid for a snow day? -- Gazette.Net


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I needed to reread your March 5 article “Snowfall: windfall for some, budget meltdown for others” several times to ensure that there wasn’t a typo.

Montgomery County Public School spokesman Dana Tofig states that the school system “still pays nearly all of its employees on snow days.”

Now MCPS is requesting a state waiver to excuse all but one of those days. Since there have been 10 snow days so far this school year, four which are built into the school calendar year and one that may be made up, this equates to a full week of paid vacation for the school employees that Mr. Tofig is referring to.

Considering that many county, state, federal and private sector employees must use liberal leave when MCPS chooses to close schools, this seems not only inequitable, but a fiscally unsound policy and disservice to both students and taxpayers.

Comparatively, several local jurisdictions, including Frederick, Md., and Fairfax, Va., and numerous other localities along the East Coast, focus on making up lost instructional time either during the course of or at the end of the school year. Mr. Tofig states that “the cost of it does not come into account — it’s about safety.”

Obviously, MCPS is not taking into account the cost to students who are missing a week of important curriculum.

In addition, it is challenging to understand why a school employee is paid for a “snow day,” while another county employee at a different agency must use liberal leave because MCPS chooses to close. Rejecting the waiver and a rethinking the policy is the right thing to do for the students and getting paid for days worked is the right thing for taxpayers.

Gabrielle Holt, Potomac