BANGOR — Nothing gets a child out of bed faster than when there’s a snow day, but this year that possibility has changed.
In October, the Bangor School Committee announced the removal of snow days from their calendar, but some parents are looking to change that.
“My initial thought was to write a letter to the superintendent and then I thought maybe if I get more signatures, maybe it would pack more of a punch,” said petition organizer Elizabeth Bushnell.
This got the attention of school officials, who agreed and opened a discussion.
“We can let the kids have a few snow days, let them keep that magical part of being a kid growing up in Maine and if we start running over too much, then we can kick in with the remote learning,” Bushnell said.
So far, the petition has received feedback from more than just the parents.
“I did hear from quite a few teachers that shared that with me, that kids are stressed, they are stressed and the idea of taking away another potential area of just a little surprise break was not something that they were excited about,” she said.
In a typical year, the Bangor School Department has five built-in snow days for its calendar but in the past, schools occasionally dealt with more cancellations, according to Interim Superintendent Kathy Harris-Smedberg.
“We did leave it in the plan that there could possibly be snow days if there were days where electricity was trouble or some of the roads weren’t passable or something like that we would of had a snow day,” she said.
Harris-Smedberg defended the decision by saying certain staff members don’t get paid if there are snow days and others with summer jobs like to have a set end day for their employers but she added the feedback has been crucial.
“There’s nobody saying that this is overwhelming what we want,” she said. “I have feedback, really and sincerely, from both sides.”
Thus far, more than 200 people have signed the petition and on Dec. 9, the school committee will revisit the discussion, Harris-Smedberg said. She said she fully expects a decision to be made.