Jul 29, 2014

School Board Poised to Cancel Winter Recess

Administrators, board support Glen Cove schools remaining open in February to make up for time lost to storm.

School Board Poised to Cancel Winter Recess

Glen Cove City Schools may do away with winter break in order to make up days lost to Hurricane Sandy, the district said at the Board of Education's Tuesday meeting.

Glen Cove schools were closed for nine days after Sandy hit Oct. 28.

"The overwhelming majority of districts on Long Island are opening February break," said district superintendent Joseph Laria. "We want to avoid opening on Passover and we want to avoid opening on Good Friday. There's no perfect answer to this."

Two proposed calendars were discussed, one drawn up by the district and the other by the Glen Cove Teachers Association (GCTA). The latter's calendar would leave Feb. 18-20 for vacation, requiring a return to school for Thursday and Friday of that week. Make up days would then be taken March 27-28 of spring recess, which are a Wednesday and Thursday, with Friday off.

Karen Ferguson, president of the GCTA, said her group's proposed calendar would allow for snow days and protect vacation plans for faculty.

"The staff was hit by the storm too, now they're being threatened with losing vacation time," she said.

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Laria said a letter had been sent on behalf of area school districts to various large travel companies requesting that they allow refunds for bookings that would have to be cancelled in light of the circumstances, but that the decision will be left to those companies.

Laria pointed out that the district's curriculum plan calls for 184 work days, which includes three superintendent's conference days. Those mean closures for students but full days for staff.

The district will not meet that number unless it opens Dec. 26-28 and Passover, which Laria said will not be considered.

He also noted that New York State requires a district hold 180 school days to qualify for state aid. The district's proposed calendar would amount to 181, with two superintendent's conference days for staff improvement. The GCTA calendar would total 180 days, and would allow for up to four superintendent's conference days, leaving one less day for possible snow closures.

To apply for forgiveness of some closure dates, all non-legal holidays must be exhausted, Laria said, including Presidents' Day and the Passover and Good Friday holidays.

He recommended that the board adopt the district's proposed calendar, calling the cutting of winter recess the "most logical" solution.

Board president Joel Sunshine expressed the Board's agreement.

"Officially, our position is what Dr. Laria said, but we're going to discuss it," he said.

The Board of Education's next meeting is Monday at 8 p.m. at Connolly Elementary School.

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