In an effort to keep graduation at May 30 this year, the Central York school board voted to approve two additional makeup days within the school year.

All students will now attend school for a half day Friday, April 18, and a full day Monday, April 21.

Central York has now canceled school nine days due to inclement weather, with several more weeks of winter weather possible.

Seniors also had assignments on the two canceled days last week, in an added effort to have those days count for credit toward the seniors' requirement.

Superintendent Michael Snell said at the meeting last week he was investigating the option of having seniors get credit for canceled days if they complete school work online during those days, just as students in the district's cyber academy do.

Snell reported as "unsatisfactory" his first attempt to get permission from the state Department of Education to have those days count. But Snell said the district gave seniors assignments that could work toward those days, if permission is granted from the state in the coming months.

"I'm operating under the assumption that we'll get credit for it," Snell said.

Snell said scheduling the makeup days is the board's first step toward keeping graduation at the May 30 date. But he said that promise is still subject to additional inclement weather. If the district needs to close school many more days, the graduation date could come up again.

"If that would happen, we'd be back here in March," he said.

Next year: The board also approved the school calendar for next year, which starts a week later than originally proposed by the administration.

The first calendar recommended to the school board had the starting date for students listed as Wednesday, Aug. 20. But at last week's board meeting and on a post on the district's Facebook page, several parents expressed the opinion that the school year should start later.

The administration proposed three options for the start of the school year. The first was the original date. The second started school on Monday, Aug. 25, and the third started school on Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Board members Eric Wolfgang and Tim Bieber were in favor of the original starting date, but the board voted 6-2 to approve the third option, with school starting on Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Bieber said he thought the year should start earlier to accommodate for Keystone and Advanced Placement testing windows, which are set by the state and give limits for how long students have to prepare.

"They're trying to cram a lot of material into a short period of time," Bieber said. "Any reduction is a detriment."

Delayed start: But board member Barbara Johnston said she has talked with other teachers outside the York area, and their students have performed well on state tests despite a later starting date. She added that central Pennsylvania is one of the few areas in the state to have moved to start school in the third week of August.

Board member Anne Kahlbaugh asked Snell if pushing back the start of the school year would affect students or teachers negatively. Snell emphasized passing the Keystone exams will be a graduation requirement, and said it could cause teachers who teach Keystone classes extra stress.

But board president Michael Wagner and other members said they were in favor of the later start date, based on what they had heard from the public.

The calendar was passed without a set graduation date next year. The board asked the administration to give a recommendation at the March meeting about when it would be best to set that date. Right now, the last student day is scheduled to be Thursday, June 11, 2015.

— Reach Nikelle Snader at nsnader@yorkdispatch.com.