Maryland education officials reject Anne Arundel’s snow-day-waiver request

Maryland education leaders on Friday denied Anne Arundel County’s request for a waiver of five instructional days that were lost to snow-related school closings, a decision that will mean an extended school year for Maryland’s fifth-largest school system.

The denial provides an early sign of state officials’ thinking on such waivers. Anne Arundel schools spokesman Bob Mosier said, in rejecting the request, the state told the district of 125 schools that it had not shown enough of an effort to make up for lost instructional time.

Anne Arundel schools closed for nine snow days but had only four emergency-weather days built into the school calendar. It had asked to be forgiven the five days it would have to tack onto the end of the school year.

Mosier said that shortly after learning of the waiver refusal, Anne Arundel officials came up with a new plan: Extend the school year by three days; seek state permission to use Easter Monday as an instructional day; and apply for a one-day instructional waiver. If the state grants the county’s requests, Anne Arundel’s last day of school would be June 20.

School officials want to give the community a sense of certainty as soon as possible, Mosier said. “Parents — and employees, too — are itching to have an answer so they can put their summer plans in place,” he said.

Montgomery County school officials said Friday that they had not heard from the state on their five-day-waiver request. Prince George’s County officials said they submitted a four-day-waiver request this week and had not received a decision.

State officials said the St. Mary’s County school system was granted a five-day waiver.

Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery is deciding waiver requests case by case and seeking to make decisions as soon as possible, state officials said.

The State Board of Education voted Tuesday to allow school systems to request waivers for as many as five days of instruction after the winter’s severe weather. Most of Maryland’s 24 school systems canceled classes for 10 to 13 days.

Donna St. George writes about education, with an emphasis on Montgomery County schools.
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