Educators Discuss School Shut Down Days 

(AP) Maine schools are required by statute to provide 175 days of instruction, but some are toying with the idea of reducing that number to save money. Maine school superintendents were the first to suggest the idea of school shutdown days as lawmakers seek to bridge a $66 million budget gap this year. Education Commissioner Sue Gendron says a single school shutdown day could save the state and local school districts $7 million. Gendron says school shutdown days might be preferable to the elimination of entire programs. Another option, she says, is a “nickel and diming” to reduce spending. Not everyone is on board. Critics say the academic year should be lengthened, not shortened, and that shutdown days would inconvenience parents, who’d have to arrange for child care.