The is looking for ways to make up instructional school days lost because of the week off from the October Nor’easter snow storm, Interim Superintendent Dennis Fyffe said during the board meeting at on Monday night.
As a means of compensating for the missed instructional days, Fyffe, who met with senior administration staff earlier Monday, proposed scheduling three makeup days that are firm - Jan. 2, the first day after the winter break and during the February weekend, Tuesday, Jan. 17 and Friday, Jan. 21.
“That would give us three snow days which we would have essentially in the bank,” Fyffe said.
The district has used all of its five days, one more than the four allotted this year. It is able to do so because its school calendar is 181 days whereas the state’s requirement is 180 instructional days.
What happens if this season brings lots of snow and the district goes beyond the three days?
“I’m proposing that April 9, the Monday after Easter, become a makeup day and consistent with what the calendar says, any additional days would be made up starting April 6, working back,” Fyffe said.
If the district does not use the three days, there are two giveback opportunities in the calendar, according to Fyffe. “One would be to use May 25 and the other is to leave April 9 as a day off.
The calendar typically defaults to April for makeup days.
“The reason I am proposing February instead of April is that if we take the days off in February and then get hit again (with snow) in March, we would have a terrible time losing much of not all of spring break, depending on how bad the winter is. It seems prudent to me to take the January date and the two in February.”
“Was there a reason that January 16 was not considered?” asked Board Member Jill Weber.
Fyffe said that the district did consider using Martin Luther King Day, or January, 16, but felt that “it would be sensitive in some areas, and found options that would not impact the holiday.”
Weber continued: “there is jeopardy of students missing instructional time because they are away for the Christmas holiday and already planned to be away for the February Holiday,” Weber said.
Vice President Richard Connors said that the honorable thing to do would be to observe the holiday as others chimed into the discussion.
“I agree about the 16th, but these are unusual circumstances, “ said board member Kim Cronin. “It’s not that we are not saying that we would recognize it going forward. I would hope that people understand. I don’t like touching February."
Fyffe said that we would solicit feedback from Parent Teacher Organizations later this week for additional input on on make-up scheduling.