Spring break saved for PGCPS students

UPPER MARLBORO, MD. -- The Prince George's County Public Schools Board of Education voted Thursday night to keep next week's spring break in tact for students rather than shortening it to one day.

The board members said they have faith that state lawmakers in Annapolis will pass legislation that will negate the problem they are facing.

Under an executive order signed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, school systems have to start the school year after Labor Day, finish by June 15, and contain at least 180 days of school.

The PGCPS calendar was not going to comply with this requirement because there have been more cancelled school days due to inclement weather than was budgeted for. The board budgeted for five inclement weather days in the 2017-2018 school year, but said the snow days on March 21 and 22 put the number of days to six.

The PGCPS board had already designated April 5 and April 6 as make-up days, but needed to approve adding April 4 in order to make-up for that sixth snow day.

This would have reduced spring break to one day, Tuesday, April 3, as Monday, April 2 is a part the Easter long weekend.

However, the board voted to restore the full spring break because the likely passage of SB 729 in the Maryland General Assembly.

The bill would give school systems an additional five days beyond the June 15 deadline to meet the 180-day threshold.

An amended version of the bill, which would have the law take effect in time for this school year, has passed the Maryland House of Delegates and needs to be approved by the state senate. The latter is expected as the original version of the bill, which would have had the law take effect on July 1, 2018, passed unanimously.

A spokesperson for Gov. Larry Hogan said that he supports the bill and intends to sign it into law.

"However, the current situation in Prince George’s County is entirely of the school system’s making. Building snow days into spring break guaranteed that spring break days would be eliminated if the county had even one snow day," added Amelia Chassé, Deputy Communications Director for Gov. Hogan.