BOE Discusses Options For 2012-2013 School Calendar

During the February 7th Board Of Education (BOE) meeting, the Board discussed the options of ending the school year on a Friday, which has been the custom for several years, or on another weekday due to the unusual calendar of days off during the 2012-2013 school year.

The proposed calendar will have the same number of in-service days and will be recognizing Yom Kippur which begins on the evening of September 25th. January 2nd will also be added as an additional day off from school. February 18, 2013 – President’s Day – will have school closed due to the fact that if school is open, custodians get paid overtime since their contract recognizes that day as a holiday. Spring break will be in March to coincide with both Passover and  Easter; Passover starts March 25th and concludes on April 2nd and Easter falls on March 31, 2013.

“The committee thought it would be a nice idea to take advantage of that opportunity to acknowledge of that,” School Superintendent Patrick Spagnoletti stated.

Tentatively, June 21, 2013 was scheduled as the last day of school. The discussion then proposed ending the school year on another weekday instead of Friday. Traditionally, the Board felt having graduation on a Friday was important for relatives traveling as well as graduation parties and Project Graduation.

Mr. Spagnoletti commented, “If that were not the case, you could change this calendar to potentially get out earlier because you need to put in some days to make [graduation] fall on a Friday.”

Board President Roseann Rinaldi asked if Project Graduation had a good attendance since that could be a determining factor in whether the last day of school could be moved from a Friday. The superintendent responded that Project Graduation has had between 95% – 98% attendance rate. She added that Project Graduation might have a harder time getting volunteers to go on a Wednesday night, for example, then go to work Thursday since they stay up all night to chaperone the event.

Board member Loren Harms said, “I think I would like to see some of these shortened times being off . . . I only speak for myself on this thing here; I do see a lot of two parents working in the household and it’s very hard when we have all these days off and these long days off to where somebody has to have a babysitter watch their children.”

“I’d like to see if we couldn’t find four days in there and bring it up to the 14th,” Mr. Troy Gerten proposed to the Board. He stated that it would add another week for parents to spend time with their children. Mr. Gerten remarked that there seemed to be a long period between spring break and the end of the school year. He also asked if school could end on a weekday and then have graduation on Friday. Superintendent Spagnoletti responded that state law mandates that graduation must occur on the last day of school.

Chris Miller pointed out that winter break to the February break is six weeks, then it is another four weeks to spring break, but then there are 10 weeks of no prolonged time off from then until the end of the school year.

After some further discussions, Mr. Spagnoletti explained that January 2nd was proposed as a day off to put the last day of school on a Friday. He commented, “Is it an essential day off? Absolutely not, but in the context of having graduation end on Friday the 21st, that becomes as important as any other day.”

It was finally proposed that the Board be presented with two (2) calendars – one ending on June 14th and the other ending on June 21st. In closing, President Rinaldi asked that the BOE get feedback from Project Graduation and the superintendent asked the the Board get feedback from parents regarding any proposed change.

The next scheduled BOE meeting is Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 7 p.m. in the EJF/Aldene School library.