- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Teachers and other school employees will have to put in extra minutes each work day starting next Monday through the end of the school year to make up for four snow days.
Students will not have to make up five of the 12 school days lost because of inclement weather this year thanks to a waiver granted by the state. However, employees must make up that lost time by coming in early or leaving late.
Teachers, paraeducators and other 10-month school employees will be required to work an extra 40 minutes each day, according to an agreement hashed out between the school superintendent and the teachers union.
The 40 minutes should be spent in school working, and is beyond teachers’ seven-hour duty day, Anna Laughlin, president of the Education Association of St. Mary’s County, said. Those minutes can be made up before or after the regular workday.
“I think it’s a fair adjustment to the calendar,” she said. “And I think most employees will be able to do it without much hardship.”
Laughlin said teachers already spend countless hours working at home grading papers or creating lesson plans.
Superintendent Michael Martirano said Tuesday that all St. Mary’s public school employees will be working extra minutes every day to address the unusual number of days missed this school year. He said he worked with leadership from the teachers union, staff union and administrators union to come up with the plan.
“It makes up for the time teachers owe in their contract,” Laughlin said.
Teachers are required to work 190 days, 10 days more than students attend school. Those additional days come before the first day of school, scattered throughout the school year as professional days and after the last day of school for students.
The Maryland school superintendent approved waiving five make-up days out of the 12 days St. Mary’s students missed this year due to inclement weather. Five snow makeup days were already built into the calendar.
Students made up one day on Presidents Day and will make up another on May 2, which originally was a scheduled professional day for teachers. This leaves teachers working six days fewer than called for in their contract, Laughlin said.
Martirano said adding minutes to the work day was a better alternative than extending the last day for teachers into summer break. In a letter to school staff dated March 31, Martirano wrote that employees can also use annual leave, personal leave or comp time to make up for the missed work. The last day for teachers remains scheduled for June 13.
“I have great trust and respect and admiration for our faculty and staff,” the superintendent said, adding that the extra time will be logged on “the honor system.
“In my mind, they’re working above and beyond those hours as is,” Martirano said.
Workers designated as 11-month employees, including some assistant principals and secretaries, will work an extra 32 minutes each day through June 27.
Twelve-month employees, including central office staff, principals and others, will work an extra 45 minutes each day through June 30.
“It’s a good way to take care of the problem,” Sal Raspa, school board chair, said, to address the extreme winter the region experienced. He added that the union leadership, principals and administrators seem to be on board.
Martirano said school employees did not directly make up five snow days that were waived in 2010. But the superintendent said there is a need to hold employees to a level of accountability when it comes to contracts, especially in the current budget climate.