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No Changes to Vacation Weeks Next Year for Schools

The Mendon Upton Regional School Committee approved the 2014/2015 School Calendar, keeping the February and April vacations intact, but voting to form a sub-committee to explore calendar options in the future.

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Maruszczak presented the proposed 2014/2015 School Calendar during the April 7 School Committee Meeting, stating that it was developed after discussions with the leadership team and teachers association, and included changes that he said "help the flow of the school year."

The new calendar has the teachers reporting to school on Monday, August 25 and having a full Professional Development (PD) Day on Tuesday, August 26; with students reporting to school for the first day on Wednesday, August 27. Other changes to the calendar include removing the half PD Day in September and a full PD day the Friday before Martin Luther King Day in January, two days where students will now attend full days. Maruszczak said that by making these changes, the last school day will be Monday, June 15, and building in five potential snow days the last day would be Monday, June 22.

"I said when we started this conversation back in February, it is my recommendation that we put together a committee involving all stakeholders to study the situation and see if there are any recommendations [on calendar changes] for 15/16 and beyond," said Maruszczak.

School Committee Member Liana Moore stated that she didn't feel that the proposed changes were sufficient. "I don't see that this helps the end game. This year we were supposed to stop on June 16. With the changes you have made, really we didn't make any impact from a snow day perspective," she said.

Maruszczak said that eliminating the February and March vacations should take more consideration and that dialog should be had with surrounding districts about going to a one-week break. "If we were to go this alone, there are some pragmatic considerations for our kids and for our staff members," he said. Maruszczak also said that because both February and April vacations have legal holidays built in, if they both were eliminated and consolidated it into a week in March, the net savings would only be 3 days. "I think this is a conversation that merits some study," he said.

Moore vehemently disagreed, however. "I am frustrated. I feel like we have the information in front of us and have the ability as a Committee to discuss it and decide if we agree or disagree about February break and if we should eliminate it," she said. "We have momentum to make what would be a very important change and in the best interest of the children."

School Committee Member Chris Russo disagreed with Moore, stating that he didn't feel that they have all of the necessary information in order to make a change. "I am not an educator....we need to talk to the educators to find out what is in the best interest of the students, and right now I don't have that information," he said.

Member Diane Duncan also stated that they should consider the fact that the Mendon Upton Regional Teachers Association did not support the elimination of February vacation. "I don't think we have to make a decision rashly," he said.

Moore continued to state her opposition to holding off on making a change to the calendar and in forming a subcommittee to further discuss the issue. "I think the Committee is just kicking the can down the road. Unless you pick [for the sub-committee] all people who think there should be no February vacation, or all people that think there should be a February vacation, there will never be a consensus," she said.

After a long discussion, the School Committee voted five in favor, one opposed (Moore) to form a sub-committee to explore calendar options. The School Committee then approved the 2015/2016 School Calendar unanimously.


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