Snow daze: South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough schools weigh calendar adjustments

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SOUTH PORTLAND — After this week’s blizzard, area school officials are juggling calendars to accommodate snow days.

Some have already delayed the end of the school year to late June.

In Cape Elizabeth, school administrators are looking at several ways to make up for lost school time due to snow days, including adding an hour to weekday classes or having classes on a Saturday.

The school calendar may be able to absorb one more school closure due to weather, interim Superintendent Howard Cotter told the school board Wednesday night.

But if classes are called off for a second day due to snowy weather, other options will have to be explored to meet the state-mandated 175-day school year. Cotter said he is hopeful classes will not have to go into the last week of June.

Options he presented include adding an hour to each school day; taking one or two days from April vacation, or holding school on Saturday.

Another possibility is asking the state education commissioner for a waiver, Cotter said.

In South Portland, Superintendent Ken Kunin said this week’s storm, which dumped more than a foot of snow in southern Maine, could push the last day of school from June 21 to June 22.

South Portland has had six snow days this winter.

But Kunin said because South Portland has 176 days in its school year, and the state mandates 175 days, he will recommend that the School Board OK having 175 days of school to keep the last day on June 21.

“Our calendar does not ‘build in’ snow days,” he said. “We typically add a day to the calendar for each day canceled due to weather.”

Julie Kukenberger, superintendent of Scarborough schools, said her School Department has also had six snow days so far.

Kukenberger said school officials are planning to end the school year for students and teachers June 21, which would provide 177 days of instruction. With no snow days the school year could have ended on June 13.

Kukenberger said at this time the School board doesn’t have to come up with an alternative, but if there are more snow days the situation may have to be reassessed.

“We have the time on the calender so they meet their learning,” Kukenberger said.

Lisa D. Connell contributed to this report. Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or Follow her on Twitter@melaniesochan.

Brandon Tarbox clears a sidewalk on Ocean Street in front of Mahoney Middle School near Broadway in South Portland on Feb. 14, a snow day for South Portland schools.