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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.

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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Tom Terrific November 21, 2012 at 02:23 PM
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. .... Awwwwwwwww, I feel so bad for you. You now have plenty of notice to alter your plans, so get to it. After all, it's primarily about the education of the children, right? ... Right?
Jean SM November 21, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Educators are also entitled to vacations, and please don't start with the "they have three months off". I am willing to bet that the percentage of children in attendance that week (if the district does cancel winter break) will be very low. Both employees of the district, as well as parents plan their vacations around the school calendar, not many people are going to be willing to forfeit vacations they may not be able to get refunds on. This is a lose/lose situation. NYS should take into consideration how many districts were impacted by the natural disaster, and make some exceptions if necessary. If the district decides to hold classes on the start of Passover or Good Friday, the next article is going to be about how they don't care about on religious organization over another.
Carl Todd November 21, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Under extremely abnormal conditions one must expect to not only aid the victims in any way they can personally do but do what ever they can to help get the system back to normal operating conditions. It also gives all an opportunity to restudy the norm and instigate beneficial future changes. Our present school schedule is based upon the days when most lived and worked on farms so the work hours had to be adjusted around the day light and farm animals awake time. It may be time to lengthen the school day and year and reduce the years needed to reach high school graduation so the students can pursue higher advanced education to prepare them to be able to earn a decent wage for today's economy.
BeachGal November 21, 2012 at 08:54 PM
This was a once in a lifetime storm, and hundreds of thousands of people on Long Island were effected by the outcome. Taxpayers, parents and teachers all incurred losses of homes, cars, property as a result of the storm. There have been Glen Cove teachers who have been reporting to work as usual despite the fact that they no longer have a car to drive to work or a home to go to at the end of the school day. Where is the Patch story about these unsung heroes who are setting good examples for the children of Glen Cove?

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