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'Insensitive' School Calendar to be Reconsidered

Next school year set to begin on second day of Rosh Hashanah.

'Insensitive' School Calendar to be Reconsidered

After receiving numeorus complaints about the 2013-14 school year starting on the second day of Rosh Hashanah—and on a Friday—the Hillsborough Board of Education will reexamine the 2012-13 school calendar.

In addition to possible changes to the Sept. 6 starting date, the board may be changing the schedule for classes in the first week of November, if discussions to consolidate local elections at the high school lead to changes in voting locations. 

Both topics came up at Monday's board meeting, with two residents chiding the board for opening school on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, including Toby Kansagor, a former supervisor in the district.

"As a member of the Jewish community of Hillsborough, I consider this calendar to be insensitive and insulting," Kansagor said.

She also noted the day will most likely be of little educational value.

Board President Thomas Kinst noted the board faced several challenges in writing the calendar, and followed previous practice for opening on the second day of Rosh Hashana.

But one challenge in the school calendar that could be changed to yield the extra day needed to enable the schedule to be changed to begin on Monday, Sept. 9, instead may be if classes are held Nov. 5—Election Day.

Hillsborough schools have served as polling locations in recent years, but discussions between school and township officials could begin the process of consolidating polling at the high school.   

"We had kind of a unique experiment this year because of the storm," Superintendent Jorden Schiff said. Dr. Schiff said with four of the district's five grade schools without power on Election Day, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, voting was moved to the high school, and reportedly went well.

Dr. Schiff's comments followed a report by board member Greg Gillette on discussions already held between school and the township about changing the polling locations because of complaints and safety concerns some parents expressed following primary voting in June.  

Board members noted that changing the polling locations to the high school would enable schools to be open on Election Day, adding the extra day to the school calendar needed to allow the opening to move to Sept. 9.

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