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Chester School Calendar Change Debated

No decision finalized as district looks to fill the holes made by Sandy.

While over at the West Morris Regional board of education meeting Monday they made some initial alterations to the storm ravaged calendar, the Chester Consolidated School District began their discussion about what to do with their own schedule while taking input from the public.

Some of the discussion was on taking back national holidays like Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President’s Day. Some of it was on adding days to extend the school year or take back some days for spring break.

While nothing was finalized, some in attendance had concerns about instructional value, not just adding days to the calendar.

“I basically just wanted to come and make sure that if we do extend the school year that it is not another week of parties and cleanup,” said Heather McCarthy. “I don’t want my kids to miss out on 10 days of instruction. I feel this way. My husband feels this way and I think I speak for a lot of people who feel this way.”

Resident Jennifer Goosay said that taking away some of the days like Martin Luther King might have families pull their kids out for a break, causing stress.

“I’m not one to pull my kids out just to give them a day off,” Goosay said. “But those who do take them out it can be stressful. Stressful for them to miss a day.”

One option for scheduling that wouldn’t fly was broached by Judy Irwin.

“Would we ever consider adding to the school day. I know in Mendham they go for a longer day,” Irwin said.

According to Chester Superintendent Dr. Christina VanWoert, that option is not allowed because of the contract the school currently has with their teachers. But board member Kerri Wright pointed out that the current contract does expire June 30.

“That might be something to consider in the future,” Irwin suggested.

What would you do to make up the 10 days lost to Hurricane Sandy? Let us know in the comments below.

Liongirl14 November 13, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Add a couple of Saturdays. Extraordinary circumstances calls for some extraordinary solutions. To add on multiple days at the end of the year is a waste. All it is parties and movies. If everyone still wants their spring break vacation, something else will have to give.
Janet Mansky Gerber November 13, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Hoping Christie grants a special exemption and waives the need to make up the days.
Janet Mansky Gerber November 13, 2012 at 11:37 PM
This is what some Hunterdon districts are doing: http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat/index.ssf/2012/11/nj_schools_reopen_after_hurric.html
jebar November 13, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Since they were suppose to be off Thursday and Friday, they only missed 8 days and they had 4 snow days in the calendar. As long as there are no more snow days they could take the day after Presidents day, Martin Luther King and just add 2 days at the end.
delwood dame November 14, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Follow HS change for calendar consistency and families sake (that have siblings in both schools.) Take back MLK and extra day after Presidents Day now so we can move on...
Mary Jane Canose November 14, 2012 at 05:10 PM
The New Jersey School Boards Association has an excellent FAQ on the 180-day requirement http://www.njsba.org/news/hurricane-sandy/pdfs/hurricaneguidlines.pdf?w=503
Robin November 14, 2012 at 06:15 PM
I agree with delwood dame. Keep it consistent with HS. I do think the State should make this an exemption due to the State of Emergency. Adding on at the end is ridiculous. They do nothing for the last 2 weeks anyway. Lets hope we have a winter like last year. What happens if it snows? Will they go to school in July? What about the graduation dates? Will those be changed too?
Robin November 14, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Thanks for the link Mary Jane, so it seems that the entire State of NJ should email/call the Commissioner of Education. The link to the document states "No State aid shall be paid to any district which has not provided public school facilities for at least 180 days during the preceding school year, but the commissioner, for good cause shown, may remit the penalty.” I THINK HURRICANE SANDY IF "GOOD CAUSE".

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