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Maryland rejects Montgomery County’s snow-day waiver request

Maryland education leaders on Monday rejected Montgomery County’s request for a five-day waiver of instructional days lost to inclement weather, but said that the school district can submit a new request that does more to compensate for the missed class time.

The state decision raised the possibility of an extended school year in Montgomery, which used 10 snow days, six more than it had scheduled into its regular calendar. Montgomery officials said Monday that Superintendent Joshua P. Starr would consult with school board members to decide whether to resubmit a waiver request or extend the school year into what would have been the start of summer break.

“We want a resolution to this as soon as possible, and we know that parents, students and staff do as well,” Montgomery schools spokesman Dana Tofig said. “We will work quickly to go through the next steps, and as soon as we have a final answer, we’ll let everyone know.”

School systems are required by the state to have a minimum of 180 days of class. But with the severe winter weather, most Maryland school systems were closed for 10 to 13 days and are seeking waivers.

Montgomery officials had asked the state to forgive five missed school days and said they would extend the school year by a day, to June 13. After the rejection, the school system must now decide whether to rely on makeup days it had designated as part of a contingency calendar or come up with a plan that may include a reduced waiver.

State officials last week also rejected a five-day waiver request from Anne Arundel County, where officials said they were told they had not done enough to compensate for lost instructional days. Anne Arundel’s new plan included extending the school year by three days; seeking permission to have school on the Monday after Easter; and applying for a one-day waiver.

Prince George’s County, which lost eight days, has asked for a four-day waiver and is awaiting a decision.

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

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