DCPS parents steamed over last-minute change for last day of school

This post has been updated since it was first published.

This past weekend brought lots of e-mail from parents teed off at Friday’s announcement that the last day of school has been moved back from Friday, June 17 to Monday, June 20. Acting Chancellor Kaya Henderson said the change was necessary to make up for Jan. 27, when schools were closed by snow. District law requires 180 days of instruction. It means that June 17, originally a half day, will now be a full day. Dismissal on June 20 will be at 12:15.

The fine print on the academic year calendar does show June 20 as a designated make up day. But why did DCPS wait until mid-May to make it official? And does it really expect many kids to show up on a Monday for a final half day?

“Many parents plan trips, camps or daycare for when school ends,” one parent said in an e-mail to Henderson. “Now, due to this last minute decision my children will not be able to participate in their last day of school since I made other plans weeks ago. “Please explain why we need to add another day which we all know many students will not attend. Let’s be honest, a half day on a Monday is just going to be for show.”

D.C. school officials responded late Monday afternoon.

“We know that the decision to reschedule the last day of school isn’t popular with everyone; and we understand why. It is, however, a half day for students,”said Safuya Simmons, a school district spokeswoman. “We trust that schools will handle how to make the most efficient use of the time on the individual school level. Likewise, we know that our principals will work with families to address any issues that the change may bring to a particular family.”

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.

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