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TO:                   Superintendents, School Board Chairs, and Private School Head Administrators

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             March 11, 2005

RE:                  Waivers for Storm Days

            Since this winter has resulted in above normal snowfall amounts, many school administrative units have exceeded the number of storm days that were originally planned for in the school calendar.   This has resulted in concerns about meeting the regulations pertaining to the length of the school year.

            Chapter 125 Basic Approval Standards: Public Schools and School Administrative Units Section 6.01, subsections C (1) and (2), address this situation.   It is important to note that the 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.   The regulations further state 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.

            Acceptable efforts to reschedule classes include rescheduling or shortening of scheduled vacation periods, postponing of the scheduled closing date of school, and conducting classes on weekends.   Please note, under Chapter 125 Section 6.02, subsection C, school administrative units may not schedule make-up instructional time by extending the time of an instructional day.

            If a school administrative unit has exceeded the number of planned storm days and every effort has been made to reschedule all the instructional days needed to meet the required 175 days for students in grades K-11 and 170 days for high school seniors, a written request for a waiver may be submitted to my office.   Please note that the school board or its designee should notify Dr. Edwin N. Kastuck, School Approval Services, by email or by phone 624-6776, of the intent to file a waiver request as soon as possible.   A formal written request should be filed with my office once the appropriate documentation [per Chapter 125 Section 6.01 subsection C (2)] is complete.

            We all realize how valuable instructional time is for our students. I appreciate your efforts to ensure that all Maine students will have the opportunity to meet the instructional day requirements.

            Thank you.