Additional Snow Days Planned for Under 2013-14 School Calendar
Board discusses bringing students in on Columbus, MLK, Presidents Day if snow day makeups are needed next year.
The Montville Township Public Schools Board of Education is taking a proactive approach with the 2013-14 school calendar and agreed last week to bring students to school on days previously scheduled as off if needed to accommodate additional snow days.
This could mean that depending on how many snow days are used before then, students could attend school on Columbus Day (Oct. 14), Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 20) and Presidents Day (Feb. 17) next year.
Discussion on the topic at the March 5 school board meeting centered around the conditions of the current year, in which Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Fried said the district had only planned for four snow, or "emergency," days but ended up using many more because of Superstorm Sandy, which shut down power in nearly all district buildings for several days.
"Back in October, we lost seven emergency days," Fried said. "We only had four on our calendar which left us in a precarious position going forward."
With the winter only halfway over, the board voted in January to bring students into school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 21) and Presidents Day (Feb. 18) on previously scheduled days off for students to avoid having to take days off of the spring break, as was indicated on the calendar. Fried told board members then that in speaking with the community, more people seemed to agree that preserving the entire spring break would be more favorable.
Around the same time, a committee was formed to consider changes that could be made to the 2013-14 school calendar to avoid the district falling into a similar situation next year, where decisions about using days as back-up snow day makeups would need to be made with short notice. Included in the committee, Fried said, were parent leaders, administrators, Montville Township Education Association members and clergy members.
The 2013-14 school year will begin on Sept. 9 in Montville. When the March 5 discussion began, Columbus Day was initially the only scheduled day off that the committee felt students should come in on if the days were used. But board members seemed to agree that the district should plan from now to also use the Martin Luther King Jr. and Presidents Day holidays if needed before taking the days from spring break (April 14-17).
"If we reach Presidents Day and we're over the limit, we need to be going to school on Presidents Day," Board Member Michael Palma said.
Board Member Jackie Ritschel said 2013-14 will be a tough year as far as the calendar is concerned, but agreed the board needed to store additional snow days in case of a storm like Sandy that depletes the reserve.
"The school year starts so late, but I don't think three snow days is enough to bank," she said.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is currently scheduled as an in-service day for teachers, which would need to be altered or moved if students are brought in on that day.
What do you think? Should students come in on the three holidays to make up for snow days or should the days be taken off of spring break? Participate in our poll below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.