Snow days may delay summer vacation for southern Aroostook students

Posted Feb. 25, 2011, at 5:07 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 25, 2011, at 7:38 p.m.

It’s every child’s dream come true: waking up to find a fresh blanket of snow covering the ground accompanied by the news that school has been canceled.

While it may be great for students in the short term, what many do not realize is that those days will need to be made up at the end of the school year when bright sunshine and green grass is beckoning.

Every school district in The Houlton Pioneer Times coverage area has experienced at least two snow days this year. Unlike past years when snow days were factored into most school calendars, some current school administrations are not including snow days when making up a new school calendar.

By state law, schools must have a minimum of 175 student days and 180 teacher days, including five days of workshops, every year.

In SAD 29, which includes Houlton, Littleton, Monticello and Hammond, the final school day for the 2010-11 year was originally set for Friday, June 10. However, the district has closed for two snow days thus far and has pushed the final school day to Tuesday, June 14.

In SAD 70, which includes Hodgdon, Amity, Linneus, New Limerick, Cary Plantation, Ludlow and Haynesville, the final day of school was originally set for Thursday, June 9, but after two snow days that date has been pushed back to Monday, June 13.

“Despite all the recent snow, this year has not been that bad,” said SAD 70 Superintendent Bob McDaniel. “I think the most snow days we have used, at least since I have been here, was seven, and we’re nowhere near that level yet.”

In SAD 14 (Danforth), the district has shut down twice due to snow, but has not officially acted to extend its year, according to school officials.

In CSD 9, which includes Southern Aroostook, Crystal, Dyer Brook, Island Falls, Merrill, Oakfield and Smyrna, the district has closed twice this winter, which is about the norm, according to Superintendent Terry Commeau.

“We build in five days to our calendar,” Commeau said. “That way we have two ending dates when we present our calendar. It’s something we have always done in this district.”

The district’s final day of school, without any snow days, was Friday, June 10. That date has been pushed back to Tuesday, June 14.

Closing school due to winter storms is not uncommon, Commeau said.

“There was a year, two or three years ago, when we had no snow days, but for the most part we average three to five days a year,” he said. “The bad year was 1998 when we had eight snow days to make up.”

SAD 25, Katahdin, also has used two snow days thus far, according to Superintendent John Doe, which is about the same as last year. The final school day for students is Monday, June 20, including its five snow days. If the district does not use all its snow days, school would get out earlier, he said.

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