Providence wants to shorten school year after snow

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Providence School Board is considering asking the state to allow the city to reduce the school year by one day because of the treacherous winter that has already resulted in six snow days.

The board is slated to vote on a resolution as for the reduction at Monday’s school board meeting. The district would then petition the state Council on Elementary and Secondary Education to reduce the school year, according to Christina O’Reilly, a spokeswoman for the district.

“This is just step one in the process of making the request,” O’Reilly said. “It’s to buy us back a little bit of breathing room.”

The school year in Providence is currently slated to end Friday, June 26, but any additional snow day could push classes into the week of the 4th of July, something the district is trying to avoid, O’Reilly said. There is no state law that requires students to be out of school before July 1, but schools try to avoid that scenario.

Public schools across the state are required to open for at least 180 days, but state law allows individual districts to ask the state Board of Education for an “emergency reduction” to the school year, according to Elliot Krieger, a spokesman for the Rhode Island Department of Education. Providence is citing Gov. Gina Raimondo’s state of emergency declaration on Jan. 27 as its reason for seeking the reduction.

Krieger said he wasn’t aware of any requests from other school districts, but indicated that RIDE is expecting some districts to seek a reduction to the school year.

Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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