State OKs KCPS waiver re­quest

Kent County News - - NEWS - By DANIEL DIVILIO ddivilio@thekent­coun­

ROCK HALL — The Mary­land State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion ap­proved Kent County Public Schools’ re­quest to waive a re­quired in­struc­tional day due to this year’s spate of win­ter storms.

Mary­land schools are re­quired to hold 180 in­struc­tional days. KCPS built five snow days into its cal­en­dar this year, but used seven.

The state also re­quires school to start af­ter La­bor Day and end by June 15. KCPS orig­i­nally slated Thurs­day, June 14 to be the last day of school, leav­ing lit­tle room for more than the five snow days used.

At last month’s Kent County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion meet­ing, Su­per­vi­sor of Hu­man Re­sources Ed Sil­ver said the dis­trict sub­mit­ted a re­quest to waive one day of school to off­set the ex­tra snow days. To make up for the sec­ond snow day, Fri­day, June 15 was made the last day of school.

Pre­vi­ously, June 14 was sched­uled as a half day. In an email Fri­day, Su­per­in­ten­dent Karen Couch said June 14 will now be a full day, with June 15 be­ing a half day.

The state board met April 24. Caro­line County Public Schools is­sued a re­lease list­ing which dis­tricts re­ceived waivers from the state board and which did not.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­lease, Caro­line’s re­quest for two days was de­nied, as were re­quests from Ce­cil, Queen Anne’s and Som­er­set coun­ties on the Eastern Shore. KCPS was re­port­edly the only dis­trict on the Shore granted a waiver.

Ce­cil County is push­ing its last day of school back from June 13 to June 14, ac­cord­ing to a post on the dis­trict’s Face­book page.

“De­spite the fact that CCPS fol­lowed the pro­to­col de­lin­eated by state law for school cal­en­dar re­quire­ments by ex­ceed­ing the re­quired num­ber of in­struc­tional hours and des­ig­nat­ing seven in­clement weather makeup days, the Mary­land State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion de­nied this re­quest,” the post states. “As a re­sult of the State Board’s de­ci­sion, the last day for stu­dents will be Thurs­day, June 14, 2018. Any stu­dent ab­sences on that day will be ex­cused.”

Caro­line and Queen Anne’s schools plan to stay in ses­sion beyond the state’s re­quired end date of June 15 to make up the re­quired in­struc­tional days. Both are look­ing at mak­ing Tues­day, June 19 the last day of school.

In ad­di­tion to the 180-day re­quire­ment, schools in Mary­land have to hit a set num­ber of in­struc­tional hours.

In a state­ment ex­press­ing her dis­ap­point­ment with the state board’s de­ci­sion, Caro­line County Su­per­in­ten­dent Pa­tri­cia Sae­lens said her dis­trict met the hours re­quire­ment while work­ing within man­dated cal­en­dar pa­ram­e­ters.

“Our school sys­tem should not have been pe­nal­ized for build­ing a re­spon­si­ble, lean cal­en­dar that lacked an ex­tended spring break that could be ad­justed. We should not have been pe­nal­ized for sched­ul­ing pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment days early in the year rather than in the spring when they could be can­celled. With no flex­i­bil­ity be­tween now and the end of the school year, the State Board’s de­nial of our re­quest leaves us with no al­ter­na­tive but make our last day for stu­dents Tues­day, June 19,” Sae­lens said in a state­ment.

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