Over the last nine months, Connecticut's weather has wreaked havoc on school schedules, especially those in the western part of the state that got hit by the recent tornado. So some districts leaders have said they won’t be able to provide the mandatory 180 days of instruction, so they’re asking the state for a waiver.
Robert Miller took over as an interim school superintendent in Ridgefield in March. One of his first challenges didn’t have much to do with learning -- instead, it was figuring out the schedule.
“We had some really bad storms in the wintertime, including a stretch of three days in March," Miller said. "So at the end of the season now, that cut off 14 school days that we lost.”
State law requires students attend school for 180 days, but they can’t hold school on weekends, after hours, or beyond June 30. Ridgefield has its last school day slated for June 29th, a Friday. But that leaves students in some grades with only 179 days of instruction.
So Ridgefield has applied to the state Board of Education for a waiver. They couldn't hold school on Memorial Day because most teachers were away. Complicating matters further, the high school graduation date is about a week before the the last day of school. Miller said that date is set in stone.
“In most cases we get lucky and the graduation ceremony takes place after the last day of school, or on the last day of school," he said. "This is unusual."
Seniors still have to show up the week after graduation, he said.
New Fairfield has also applied for a waiver on the 180 day requirement, and several other towns have expressed interest in the process, state officials said. If Ridgefield's waiver isn’t granted, superintendent Miller says they’ll have to tack on an extra day next school year.