New England

Some Students Frustrated as School Closings Piling Up in Maine

While most students celebrate snow days and school cancellations, some students in Maine say they’ve had enough.

“It kind of sucks,” said Gary Winthrope, a sophomore at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham, Maine. His school district, MSAD 75, has had to cancel school eight times this year due to weather. “You have to make up those days in the summer time, when you don’t want to.”

“Eight days is more than I’ve encountered in my time here,” said Superintendent Brad Smith. A powerful wind storm late October caused widespread power outages, and made MSAD 75 cancel school for five days. For Wednesday’s snow storm, the district did an early dismissal.

In Lewiston, an early dismissal wasn’t an option.

“Too many kids would go home to an empty house,” said Superintendent Bill Webster. He decided to cancel school, even though the snow didn’t start falling until the afternoon.

“Today is our sixth snow day of the year,” he said. The district plans to have students make up those days in June. “That makes the last day of school Monday June 18th.”

Students and parents in Topsham fear they’ll suffer the same fate.

“They’re losing summer,” said Cassandra Paetow, who has a child at Mt. Ararat Middle School.

Superintendent Smith said the district is trying to avoid it. They are taking days set aside as “professional development” for teachers and turning them into instructional days. If they get more snow days this winter, they may have to shorten school vacation, add hours to the school days, or even hold classes on Saturdays.

“Regardless of what option we choose," Smith said, "we probably are not going to please someone."

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