ROCKVILLE – Montgomery County Public Schools will only have to make up one of the seven snow days it had this year, the state told the school system Monday afternoon.
MCPS will now hold an early release day for students on Monday, June 17 and push the professional day for teachers to Tuesday, June 18. Although the school had to close a total of seven days – three days beyond the built-in four extra instructional days – State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery approved a waiver to excuse MCPS from making up two of the days.
“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,” said Interim Superintendent Larry Bowers. “I am pleased that we can now finalize our calendar so our parents, students and staff can plan accordingly.”
Law mandates Maryland school systems to hold 180 instructional days. MCPS always schedules 184 days. Bowers said the extra three days would have cost the school system $1.7 million to $2 million primarily due to personnel costs.
Bowers originally submitted a waiver to the State Board of Education for three days on March 17. He then revised the request on March 30 after the board gave Lowery the authority to approve waiver requests of up to three days as long as the school system could show they made up some of the instructional time without the waiver.
“The costs to MCPS to make up one additional day would be approximately $700,000. This is in addition to the significantly higher costs we have experienced for snow removal operations, and for electricity and natural gas. These additional costs, in a very difficult budget year, make the situation even more challenging,” Bowers wrote.
The two-day waiver still means MCPS students will have received more hours of instructional time than the state requires, according to the waiver request. Bowers also asked the superintendent to consider the monetary impacts of the additional days.
Lowery said she granted the request “because of the modifications made to your school calendar by using your inclement weather days and adding days of instruction.”