Greenwich Schools Max Out Snow Days, Makeup Days in April “Last Resort”

Greenwich Public Schools are fresh out of snow days. The 2013-2014 district calendar  has five  built-in snow days and they have all been used.

The fifth snow day was declared Feb. 17 (which fell the day after Presidents Day following winter break, Feb. 10-14). Prior to that, school was canceled due to snow on Dec. 10, Jan. 3, Feb. 3 and Feb. 5.

If more snow days are declared, tough decisions must be made about where to make up lost days.

At Thursday’s Board of Education meeting at New Lebanon School, Board Chair Barbara O’Neill presented a resolution that should additional snow days become necessary that the Board cut short April vacation as a last resort and rather, include the use of the 181st day that’s on the district calendar and other June days first.

In discussion prior to the the Board members’ vote, Peter von Braun asked whether there was any possibility given state law and the union contract to avoid extending the school calendar.

von Braun suggested adding on a half hour to an hour to the school day to make up the time lost from snow days.

O’Neill said from her experience as a teacher making up time that was “useless time.”

McKersie agreed, acknowledging von Braun’s idea as “a creative thought,” but that due to afters programs, other obligations and commitments of staff, it would be impractical. Other pre-scheduled commitments include senior internships that run from May 19 – June 17.

Carol Sutton of the GEA indicated that her organization supported the board’s resolution.

We’ve all added a few new colorful adjectives of our to describe snow over the past few months. I won’t mention them here, but hopefully we won’t need to practice them any more,” Sutton said.

On behalf of the GEA, Sutton expressed appreciation to the administration and the superintendent for “focusing on our children and safety first when considering whether to cancel school, or delay, and we appreciate early notice that has been given when that is possible.”

The Board voted unanimously in favor on the resolution. Long live spring break!