Parsippany public school students will have to spend two holidays and a Saturday in the classroom, thanks to a decision made by the township Board of Education at its Thursday night meeting.
The board voted to approve the school district calendar committee's recommendations for making up instructional days lost because of Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath.
Three of the eight days were allotted as "snow days" in the original 2012-13 district calendar. Two more days were made up last Thursday and Friday—those days had been scheduled as off days due to the New Jersey Education Association teachers' convention, however that Atlantic City gathering was cancelled due to Sandy's battering of the resort town.
That left three days to make up, Superintendent of Schools LeRoy Seitz said.
"No matter what we do, we know no one will be happy," he said. "But the committee did come up with options and a consensus on what they would like to do. We realize that some will not be happy. Some will say they've already made commitments. But we have to make up [the days]."
The calendar committee, made up of district stakeholders—teachers, parents, students, teachers, custodians, secretaries and staffers—came up with a plan to hold a full day of classes on Monday, Jan. 21 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), another full day on Monday, Feb. 18 (Presidents Day) and a half-day on April 13, which falls on a Saturday.
Seitz said this plan would allow spring break to remain intact and allow teachers and students a rest after a long instructional period. He added that should there be future winter weather events that close schools, they will come out of spring break, starting with Friday, April 19.
The superintendent said the idea of extending the school year into the summer was considered, however, doing so, he said, would have caused problems for prescheduled events such as Project Graduation.
Seitz said that unless the state Department of Education decides otherwise, the 180 instructional days mandated by law must be fulfilled, which necessitates the schedule changes.
Prior to the board members' vote, it was decided to change the Saturday date to April 6, so as not to cause scheduling problems for high school sports teams.
The final vote to open schools on Jan. 21, Feb. 18 and April 6 was passed 8-1, with board member Gary Martin casting the only dissenting vote.