Press Release: State Board Sets Process for School Calendar Waivers

Systems Can Apply For Waivers Of Up To Five Days from 180-Day Requirement; State Superintendent Will Make Decisions

For Immediate Release

Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410-767-0486, 443-670-7072 (cell)

Baltimore, MD (March 25, 2014)

The Maryland State Board of Education today voted to allow local school systems to apply for waivers of up to five days from the 180-instructional day requirement, and authorized the State Superintendent to make the waiver decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Board members also authorized up to two-day waivers from the 170-instructional days required by nonpublic schools in the State.

“Students need time in class to succeed, and we take Maryland’s instructional day requirement very seriously,” said Dr. Charlene Dukes, president of the Maryland State Board of Education.  “At the same time, this has been a very unusual winter, and it requires us to take unusual steps.”

No timetable has been set for decisions on the waiver requests.  Fifteen school systems have already requested waivers, and others may do so in the coming weeks.

Maryland residents – and Maryland school systems in particular – have been working through a very active winter, with all 24 school systems exceeding the number of inclement weather days that had been built into their calendars.  Garrett County, in far western Maryland, has been closed 20 days, while Allegany County has been closed for 16 days. 

The Maryland State Board had already allowed school systems to open classrooms on holidays to make up for some of the lost instructional time.  Six systems opened on President’s Day and, thus far, five have made the request to open on the Monday after Easter.

The State Board’s action is not unprecedented.  In calendar year 2009-2010, Maryland also trudged through a harsh winter.  The State Board authorized the State Superintendent to waive up to five instructional days in that instance.

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