State OKs KCPS waiver request
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.