New Canaan Board OKs Changes To School Calendar

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New Canaan Public Schools could be open during the April vacation week if the district has to close for two more days. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason
New Canaan Schools Superintendent Mary Kolek, left, and Board of Education Chair Alison Bedula. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – The April vacation originally scheduled for New Canaan Public Schools could be lost if the district needs to take two additional snow days after the Board of Education approved on Monday changes to the 2012-13 school year calendar.

The school board voted Monday to go forward with an adjustment in this school year’s calendar that will have the school year end on June 21, 2013, four days later than the original calendar. It will also make Feb. 15, originally a day off, a half-day for the district, allowing New Canaan to have 181 instructional days, one more than required by state officials. The calendar changes came after the district lost six days due to Hurricane Sandy.

If school needs to be canceled again, the calendar will not change and New Canaan Schools will have a 180-day school year.  But if two or more snow days are needed, the district will begin taking days away from the April vacation, starting with April 15. The entire April break will be lost if six days need to be made up for snow or bad weather. The changes will not affect the February break, scheduled for Feb. 19 to 22 with schools closed on Feb. 18 for Presidents Day.

No parents spoke about the change on Monday, though School Board Chairperson Alison Bedula said she and other board members heard various thoughts from parents via email.  The district did not have many other choices, she said. “There’s no one perfect plan,” she said, noting that parents have different preferences based on the ages of their children.

Vivian Birdsall, president of the New Canaan Education Association, the union representing New Canaan teachers, praised Superintendent Mary Kolek’s now accepted proposal. “I think she did the best she could with what she had to work with,” Birdsall said.

The school board would have to talk about what would need to be done if the district needs to make up more than seven days because of snow or other bad weather. Local school rules prevent the district from having classes after the third full week of June.

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