Once again, the winter has resulted in an increased amount of snow storms causing schools to close to avoid dangerous weather conditions. Winter storm closures coupled with the wind storm that occurred earlier in the school year and resulted in power outages across Maine, has caused school administrative units to exceed the number of storm days that were originally planned for in the school calendar.
As a reminder, the requirement is 175 instructional days for students in grades K-11, and 170 days for high school seniors.
Rescheduling instructional time
Acceptable efforts to reschedule classes include the following:
- Rescheduling or shortening scheduled vacation
- Postponing the scheduled school closing date
- Conducting classes on weekends
- In addition, districts sometimes choose to revert a scheduled teacher in-service day to a student instructional day
Please note, under Chapter 125 Section 6.02, subsection C, school administrative units may schedule a one hour extension of the school day for up to 25 days in a school year; 5 one hour extensions may be counted as an additional school day. It is important for school boards that vote on revised calendars to notify the Commissioner’s office, particularly for school administrative units that choose to extend the school day, as this option will alter the attendance counts for the unit.
Also, schools that choose to extend the school day in lieu of attending additional days, please be aware that SAUs that participate in federal reimbursement for USDA food funding may be affected. USDA food funding is calculated based on the number of lunches served in the previous year. Therefore, if an SAU has less lunches served due to extending school days rather than going extra days in the 2017/2018 school year, it will result in less federal reimbursement for the meal program in the 2018/2019 school year.
For further information about the Child Nutrition Program, contact Walter Beasley, Maine DOE Director of Child Nutrition at (207) 624-6875 or Walter.Beesley@maine.gov.
In Chapter 125: Basic Approval Standards: Public Schools and School Administrative Units Section 6.01, subsections C (1) and (2), regulations state that the Commissioner may waive the minimum school year requirements upon submission of a written request from the school board to the Commissioner, and that waivers will be granted only after school officials have exhausted all reasonable avenues for making up lost school days, and only in extraordinary circumstances.
For further information about rescheduling school days or requesting waivers please view the Department’s updated Waivers for Snow Days Frequently Asked Questions.
For further questions or to notify the Department of the intent to file for a waiver please contact Pamela Ford-Taylor, Maine DOE School Enrollment Specialist at (207) 624-6617 or Pamela.Ford-Taylor@maine.gov.