by Dr. Richard Canfield, Superintendent – Sandwich Public Schools
With more snow on the way, parents, staff, and students are asking what will happen if we run out of school days in June?
School districts are required to build 185 days into their calendars, with five of those days serving as built-in snow days. If no snow days are used, school would be out on the 180th day. As of February 10, Sandwich used up its 5 built-in days, so the last school day is currently June 23.
July 1 serves as the start of the new fiscal year for schools, and districts are required to complete their 180 days by June 30. Not counting weekends, there are 5 available days that could be used in June. This is not so bad when you consider that Boston will now be in school until June 30.
The conversations occurring on Cape and throughout Massachusetts involve the following options or a mix of options:
- Converting full-day teacher in-service days to regular school days
- Changing Good Friday to a regular school day
- Taking days from the April vacation
- Holding Saturday School
- There are no full day in service dates scheduled for teachers for the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year. Therefore, we cannot gain back a day through cancelling one
- Good Friday (April 3) was changed to school day once before, and it was not well received by many in the community. The superintendent would not recommend this option to the School Committee without consulting with our local clergy.
- The April vacation (20 – 24). The 20th is a holiday (Patriots Day). If the School Committee chose to recoup days they could start with the 24th and work backwards in the week. This would allow for 1 to 4 days and provide a long weekend break. The drawback is that many families and staff may have already booked travel plans.
- Saturday School has been used successfully in other districts. Depending on how many days need to be recouped the district could schedule days on some weekends in May. Once scheduled they would take place, and even if the district did not need to tap into the last 5 days in June, the school year would just end earlier.
The talk among districts seems to favor Saturday School with ample notification for families and staff. Planning early and spreading the weekends out would mean not all weekends have to be used. The questions are, how many days to recoup, and when to start?
There is still a lot of winter weather ahead. The district can take its chances to see if the remaining 5 June days will suffice. No decision has been made at this point in time. I know that that everyone would like to know the plan as soon as possible, and we are considering ways to get feedback from parents and staff. Ultimately not everyone will be happy or agree, but a recommendation needs to be made by the superintendent and voted on by the School Committee.