One area school cancels April vacation, others will vacation as planned
By Lauri Voter - Staff Writer
Region - posted Thu., Mar. 24, 2011
With the exception of the town of Union, Ashford, Stafford and Willington Public Schools are planning to observe their regularly-scheduled April vacations.
With eight snow days this year, and in lieu of canceling April vacation, the Willington Board of Education chose to eliminate Hall Memorial School's February vacation and one professional day. The board also changed the number of school days from 182 to 180.
According to Brenda Weber, executive assistant to Superintendent David Harding, the board of education “weighed all the options and that was the best choice at that point, given that they might have more snow days in April.” Willington's anticipated end-of-year date is June 20.
Union School will also complete its year on June 20, following completion of a full school year of 180 days. According to Joseph J. Reardon, interim superintendent, the Union Board of Education takes snow days into account when it creates its school calendar each year. In Union, once snow days exceed the anticipated amount of snow days - which is usually around five - then April vacation is automatically revoked.
“We exceeded the snow days that we added, so we are making them up for April vacation. It's uncommon to exceed the snow days you build into your calendar,” Reardon said.
This year, Union School's April vacation was scheduled for April 18 through 22. Teachers and students will lose four days that week, specifically April 18 through 21, while still recognizing the Good Friday holiday on April 22.
Reardon said that he has received little feedback from parents about the loss of April vacation.
“I think they expected it. It wasn't just Union, it was across the state,” Reardon explained.
Union School has had 10 snow days, so far, this year.
Ashford School, which lost six days to snow this year, will still hold April vacation as scheduled from April 18 through 25.
Instead of losing its April vacation, Ashford School sacrificed its February holiday.
Referring to snow days, Superintendent Dr. James Longo said “they're sort of built in. There is an expectation of three to four days.”
In Ashford, the Board of Education based its decision to cancel February vacation on the recommendation of the superintendent. Ashford School's last day of school is currently scheduled for June 20.
Even after 10 snow days this year, Stafford Public Schools will still be able to enjoy an April vacation, as planned, from April 18 through 22.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thérèse G. Fishman explained that Stafford's Board of Education voted to move in-service days to the end of the school year.
“The board voted to remove two days in February. One was a one-day February vacation for students and teachers, and the other day was a teacher in-service day. Then, they took May 31, a teacher in-service day, and put those to the end of the school year, which allows us to finish the school year on June 22,” Fishman said.
Fishman said that the board wanted students to be able to have some time off during April when weather tends to be more agreeable.
“Even though students were getting these snow days, they weren't days when people could have a vacation,” Fishman said.
By moving the administrative days to the back of the calendar, students will be able to finish their school year on June 22, after completing a full academic year of 182 days.
Fishman said that if any additional inclement weather impacts the school calendar, then school officials will consider reducing the regularly-scheduled 182-day year to 180 days.