NAPLES, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The winter of 2016-2017 will go down in the history books as one of the snowiest on record. And schools around the state will pay for it when the day they would normally finish school comes and goes.
Too many snow days means many Maine students will be spending their first days of summer break right where they’ve been the past nine months: in the classroom.
And with another major snowstorm heading up the eastern seaboard, parents, teachers and of course students are all watching this approaching storm very closely.
Already South Portland, Portland and a number of other schools have canceled school for Tuesday. Maine kids everywhere want it to be a "big one" so they won't have to go to school.
But it could have a reverse impact-- particularly in S-A-D 61-- which comprises the towns of Bridgton, Naples, Casco and Sebago, a region well-known as a snow magnet.
Today, the district launched a new program, in hopes of playing catch up.
"I'm hoping beyond hope that that storm goes out to sea," shared Songo Locks Elementary School Principal Cheryl Cline.
Cline is in fact singing the same tune being sung by principals all over Maine, where this winter's heavy snowfall has meant rather than learning, their students are instead playing.
“So each time we have a snow day that gets tacked on to the end of the school year."
And as it stands now in snow country like SAD 61, all five allotted snow days have been used, and they're now dealing with two additional snow days.
The SAD 61 district has come up with a way to pay back those days during the school year.
“We'll go an extra hour each day this week and next week to make up two snow days."
A plan most everyone appears to be ok with. Instead of getting out at 3pm, younger students at elementary schools like Songo Locks can go home at 4pm. Older students, in middle and high schools are also released an hour later.
Songo Locks teachers say the extra hour gives them time for more projects: "So hands on science, some teams are talking about some special team learning experiences. One of my grade levels wants to do some fun type math activities during that time," said Principal Cline.
At this point, students in SAD 61 are scheduled to be out of school June 19th. That is, unless Tuesday’s big storm delivers what’s being forecast. It is likely that despite all its planning, SAD 61, like other schools around Maine, will be in school later than hoped. Which means summer break in the lakes region will have to wait.