Fairfield School Board Extends School Year, Weather Pending

The board voted to tack on up to five additional makeup days to the end of the school year. After the six days lost due to Hurricane Sandy, the last day of school is currently set for Friday, June 21.

The Fairfield Board of Education voted Tuesday to extend the 2012-2013 school year beyond the current end date of Friday, June 21 to make up for a maximum of five additional no-school days.

Any additional no-school days beyond those five will be made up during April break, beginning on Monday, April 15.

The proposal to add the days to the end of the year was put forth in response to the six school days lost during and after Hurricane Sandy.

"I think it's the best solution for us," Pamela Iacono, who was elected vice chair at Tuesday's meeting, said.

Iacono said that after the board chose to cut the 2013 February break last year, they should have thought to safeguard April break in the event of excessive no-school days -- and extending the school year is a way to do that.

Any makeup days following June 21 will not affect high school graduations, Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Title added. Graduation is scheduled for Thursday, June 20. As long as the date falls after the 185th day since the school year began (which, in this case, it does), graduation can remain as scheduled, regardless if the school year is extended five days, to June 28.

The board discussed other options that would help preserve April break:

  • The school board could have chosen to hold school on the professional development day scheduled for Friday, Feb. 15, and extended the school year for up to four days instead of five;
  • The board could choose to hold school on any legal holiday not falling during the months of December or January. Those options include Presidents' Day (Monday, Feb. 18), Good Friday  (March 29), and Memorial Day (May 27).
  • The board could cut Fairfield's planned and budgeted 182-day school year to the statutory 180 days, which Title said would be "sub-optimal."

Members Perry Liu and John Convertito both said that the school year should remain as scheduled and -- if need be -- the next five no-school days should be made up during April break.

"The reason we changed the calendar last year was so the students and staff would not be going into that last week of June," Convertito said, recalling how hot it was during the Class of 2012's late-June high school graduation ceremonies. He said he would choose to reduce the school year from 182 days to 180.

Resident Suzanne Miska of Ryegate Road told the board that she didn't see why "we can't go before the state" to get the days lost due to Sandy pardoned.

According to a memo from Title to the school board, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor "did not seem receptive" to the idea that the State Board of Education could waive the mandated 180-day requirement, and it "would not be prudent to count on such relief."

The board voted to extend the school year 6-3. Newly elected Chairman Philip Dwyer, Iacono, Jessica Gerber, Paul Fattibene, Tim Kery, and Sue Brand voted in favor; Convertito, Liu, and Jennifer Maxon Kennelly opposed the motion.

Brian December 01, 2012 at 11:04 AM
@Resident, Calendar is a framework so others can build their schedules around it. Many comments here echo those of the 80's when I was first transplanted here. Hasn't changed. Fairfield is a very religious town. Good Friday, Roshashanna, Yom Kippur? You've got to be kidding. You didn't include Memorial Day; is this because some of the working world has this day off? Veteran's Day, for a brief time, let teachers and students participate in town-wide programs honoring vets. Now it's a shopping day. Before MLK day became a holiday, it too was useful to inform students as to Dr. King's message for humanity. From world wide events, this can't be too important either. Does the working world celebrate this day too? Friday afternoon PD's? Do members of the working world have their mandated PD on Fridays? If not, why? Extend the summer break for who? Where do these grandparents live, Neptune? I believe your last, I hope, rhetorical question, misses a target. Keep looking.
Marnie Kruse December 01, 2012 at 11:25 AM
R. Ludlowe - I am not arguing our kids are school too much, just responding to your post from 11:04 on Friday re: schools with three month summer vacations and two weeks off at Christmas. Honestly, I don't know what magic # of school days is ideal. My nephew's teachers have less time to cover the curriculum. I forgot to ask my sister if they have state testing. As for half day Fridays, I know the teachers collaborate and discuss curriculum for the following week, which I think would absolutely benefit the kids. Their M - TH hours are longer than ours, 7:50 to 3:10.
Brian December 01, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Don't all states have test thanks to No Child and now Race? Where's the argument for Saturday classes? And please, let's not hear about how many hs kids work. I'm sure their employers wouldn't mind them getting a little more training (more of which should be provided, but another day for that) and provide openings for some of the unemployed in town who want to work a Saturday.
fatmancarruthers December 02, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Pull your kids out of school if you dont like it. Protest! Hell no we wont go! Were here, were queer, were not going anywhere! Not everybody can have things personally catered to their needs. You people make me vomit with your petty compliants
Fairfield Parent December 05, 2012 at 05:51 PM
RLudlow - my comments were relevant as kids need a break from bad teachers and bad teachers, which do exist need a break from their kids....too much togetherness is not good. Our kids spend more time at school than home with adults who may or may not be in their court - everyone needs some "fresh air" and separation every few months. Kids brains do better when they have a chance to rejuvenate. And hopefully smart parents don't let their kids sit in front of the TV/computer/iPhone for that time off...a little (an hour or 2 is fine..) the idea is to get out and do something that expands the brain! By the way, when my first child was born I noticed her eyes glaze at the TV at 8 weeks. I promptly shut off the TV in our home, and there was no TV until she was 3. Ironically the Pediatricians came out with a study to turn TV and devices off until age 2. So I guess I might have some good instincts :)


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