Wall students will not have a lengthy February school vacation next year after the Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously adopted a new district calendar that dramatically cuts the mid-winter break.
The board voted 9-0 to adopt the 2013-14 school district calendar at its regular meeting. Members of the board did not comment before the vote, which followed a public comment period where members of the audience railed against cutting the February break.
Among other changes to next year’s calendar is the addition of a half day on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and a five-day weekend – including the weekend days – from Nov. 7 – 12 for all students. Elementary school students would also have four more half days during the month to accommodate parent-teacher conferences, according to the schedule.
But the change that most at Tuesday’s meeting were most upset about was the changes to the February break.
The new calendar calls for two days off preceding the regular Presidents Day holiday in February, making a 5-day weekend in mid February. Although the school district this year nixed Presidents Day as a day off while scrambling to make up days missed due to Hurricane Sandy, students normally have the week preceding and through the national holiday off from school, making a 10-day vacation – including weekends – in the middle of winter.
Here are some of the comments:
- “There’s a financial concern with all families who do take advantage of this week,” said Christian Martin, of Mayflower Drive. “Cheaper airfares, cheaper hotels, easier to get around. You take that week away and there are families who may not be able to travel. I think taking that away would be a big mistake.’’
- “We know every year that’s when we’re going away, if we go, and that’s when we’re spending time together,’’ said Leesa Adam, of Woolley Road. “This calendar does nothing for working parents. In November, I may as well tell my boss I need the month off.’’
- “To me as a parent, wouldn’t it be more efficient to close schools for a full week, turn down the thermostats and save energy?’’ said Patricia Kile of Terrace Place. “Also in February, the flu is rampant. I was glad that my children were away from everyone and that we had a break, so that is something else to think about.’’
- “One of the things that I love so much about the February break is that it has allowed us to look at colleges for my (high school) junior,’’ said Angelina Tave, of Carriage Hill Drive. “Going over two time zones sometimes is very difficult over a long weekend. So the 10-day break is very helpful. I know of one of my daughter’s friends that was able to travel to the Ukraine this past February break and that is an educational experience that is outside the classroom that is extremely beneficial to our students today.”
Stay informed: Follow Wall Patch on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe to our Newsletters.