- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 2, 2003

BALTIMORE Most children in Maryland enjoyed yet another snow day Friday, but as lost class time piles up schools are considering canceling spring break and adding days at the end of the year.
The latest snow storm in what has been by far the snowiest month in Maryland history pushed several school districts into the double digits for snow days. Fifteen of Maryland's 24 school systems canceled classes Friday.
Talbot County had its 12th snow day Friday. The school system doesn't allot for them and typically just adds them to the end of the year.
"But this year we're trying to go to school Good Friday, and the Monday and Tuesday after Easter, which would be our spring break," said county schools spokeswoman Janel Lanahan.
The state's Board of Education granted schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick the power to grant schools the use of holidays to make up snow days earlier in the year.
Mrs. Grasmick also got permission to hand out two-day waivers for schools that need it. Maryland state law requires schools to be open 180 days a year. The board must approve anything less.
Almost every county has requested or is considering the waiver.
Even with no spring break and the waiver, Talbot students will have more than a week tacked onto the end of the school year.
Anne Arundel County has taken nine snow days this year. The county allotted four snow days and will ask for the two-day waiver. One day will be taken off spring break, and county officials are pondering what to do about the remaining two days.
Charles County will also use its spring break to make up three of its five extra snow days. Prince George's County will shorten spring break by one day, the Monday after Easter.
Prince George's County will also use a staff-development day, and a conference and grading day to make up the five extra snow days taken on top of the four built into the calendar.
"We try not to add on days in the summer. As it is we get out on June 23, and the further we get into summer months, then we're looking at heat-related emergencies," said Athena Ware, spokeswoman for Prince George's County schools.
Other schools see adding on days as the only solution. Both Dorchester and Harford counties are adding on one extra day to their school years.
Harford has received a waiver for two days and requested a waiver for two more.
"We have taken 10 snow days and only built three into our calendar. … The board has already voted to take two staff days in early April as class days," said Harford County schools spokesman Don Morrison.
Montgomery County is adding two days to the end of the year and taking a March professional day in addition to the waiver.
"This is our 10th snow day. We had four built in and have now planned for five more, but with today's snow day we're going to evaluate our options and upcoming weather," said Montgomery County schools spokesman Brian Porter.
In Baltimore, city school officials have not decided what to do.
Kent County was still weighing how and whether to make up the two snow days they have gone over the five built into the schedule.
After the 1995-96 school year, which saw the largest snowfall in Maryland history, Baltimore County built seven snow days into its calendar.
"We're now four days over those seven, and March has a reputation of catching us unaware. We still have at least four more weeks of bad weather," said Baltimore County schools spokesman Charles Herndon.
"We're considering extending the school year and the waiver, but we're not going to make any decisions until we see how March plays out."

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