Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Board of Ed Approves Possible Change to School Calendar

At tonight's Board of Education regular meeting, Superintendent Pat Charles asked the Board to approve a possible change to the 2012-13 school calendar.  With tomorrow's snow day, the last day of school is Friday, June 21st.  Thursday will be a snow day as well, so according to the policy listed on the calendar, one day of April vacation will have to be used to make up the missing day.

Dr. Charles asked the BOE to let her pursue a survey of Middletown teachers to see how many could teach on Tuesday, February 19, in lieu of the first day of April vacation.  Monday, February 18th is President's Day, and Tuesday was the last day of February Break.  Charles argued that taking February 19th, if it could be done, would allow student families and teachers/staff to have a full vacation in April.  The Superintendent also told the BOE that she had spoken to all the Union Presidents, and there was no objection to her surveying the staff to see if they wanted to trade a day in February for a day in April.

BOE member Ryan Kennedy pointed out that school cannot continue into the week of June 24th because the Middletown Parks and Recreation programs start that day, and several of the school facilities are reserved for that purpose.  Additionally, since most of the school buildings are not air conditioned, keeping children in school past the 21st of June is counter-productive due to how hot the buildings get inside.

The BOE agreed, and Superintendent Charles will send a Honeywell alert tomorrow morning to all Middletown teachers and staff to ask them to take a short, two question survey from a link on the district's website.  Given a favorable reply (meaning most teachers can report to work and the cost for substitutes for those who can't isn't cost-prohibitive), Middletown schools will be in session on Tuesday, February 19th.  If this is the case, a Honeywell alert will be sent to all Middletown families, notifying them of the change in schedule.

For those who are worried about the snow load on school roofs, Director of Facilities, Ken Jackson, had this to say:  "We were very lucky that there was no snow on the roofs before the storm started, and we have actively worked since Monday to make sure that the roof drains were clear.  The high winds involved with this storm worked in our favor, and in many places, there were only 6-7 inches of snow on the roofs.  I am meeting with the City's building inspector tomorrow morning, and we will be inspecting all the school roofs to make sure our facilities are safe.  I am personally confident that there are no issues with our buildings."

More on the rest of the BOE meeting in a separate post.


Stephen Devoto said...

This is a logical change to the schedule, even without Tuesday, our kids will have had a de facto 10 day winter recess. I hope this works for the teachers.
Thank you Dr. Charles for your leadership on this.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't parents get a say in this survey?

Anonymous said...

Isn't his just postponing the inevitable? It's mid February, and chances are it will snow again and school will have to be cancelled again this winter.

Why not just take the bull by the horns now and either cut into April vacation or extend school in June.

If the schools are good enough to house rec programs, they are good enough to hold school in June. And lets face it, the majority of people who complain about it being too hot in the schools in June are not the kids, it's the adults.

Anonymous said...

The parents will also receive a Honeywell alert to participate in the survey. This is a great idea!

Otherwise they will have to take the Monday of April vacation!

Anonymous said...

Parents do have a say. If you go to middletownschools.org there is a link to the survey. You can fill it out as a teacher or as a parent.

joseph getter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joseph getter said...

Emails and phone calls have also invited parents and staff about participating in the survey.

I agree with Stephen's comment above, this is a great idea, and the kids should be back in school after so many days off.

Anonymous said...

Even Hartford schools are going back tomorrow. Why can't Middletown? My children go to parochial school here in town and they can't go back if Middletown public schools are closed. This is a royal screw up.

Jam (Jennifer Mahr) said...

Ken Jackson is both the Director of Facilities and Transportation, and his comment to the BOE on Tuesday night was that the facilities would have been ready to go on Wednesday, but buses would not have been able to get safely through town nor were sidewalks clear for those students who walk to school. The primary concern stated during the ensuing discussion was for student safety, and if buses couldn't get to stops because of lack of snow clearance, it wasn't worth risking kids' lives for one or two days of school.

I asked the Asst. Superintendent about Friday, and she told me it was never a school day to begin with. It is on the schedule as a Professional Development Day for teachers and it does not count as a "day lost" of instruction.

Anonymous said...

My son goes to Xavier. When public schools closed because of the weather all schools in town have to be closed. We wanted to be open weds and thurs because roads were okay by then. Certainly better than 2 years ago. We were told no we couldn't open. After calling the mayors office repeatedly we finally decided to open but the city wouldn't give us the bus service they are required to. So I have to go to work late because I have to drive my son to school.

The mayor and superintendent are both too inexperienced to be running a city of this size. Horrible.

Anonymous said...

I feel for you. It definitely seems that under the present administration, people have to manage for themselves even though our taxes should be covering this.

joseph getter said...

MPS students who live within a certain distance of their school are required to walk. At present, many sidewalks are far from clear; in my neighborhood there are piles of snow from the lots on some sidewalks. Very unsafe conditions for walking. Good call to close the schools.

As stated above in a comment, today Fri Feb 14 was not on the calendar as a day of instruction; school was "closed" but it isn't a lost day.