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Make Up Days for Sandy Will Include Portion of February Break

Kings Park Board of Education voted Tuesday evening to have students attend school during much of the February break.

 

Students in the Kings Park School District will be in school during most of the February break to make up days lost due to Hurricane Sandy.

The Kings Park Board of Education voted Tuesday evening to begin using days with the February break instead of the pre-determined first two days of March break, which was decided upon last year when the district and board agreed on the upcoming school year’s calendar.

As of last week, make up days were scheduled to be March 25 and 26, May 24 and three conference days. The district lost a total of six days due to Hurricane Sandy.

Make up days will now be May 24, Feb. 19, 20, 21, 22 and Nov. 7. If additional days are lost to snow the board will begin to use the March break starting with March 25. According to a statement on the district's website, if only one additional emergency make-up day is needed, the board decided that a conference day will be used for that make-up day and spring break will be left in tact. That decision, the district said, cannot be made until late March.

“Obviously the situation is less than ideal,” said board member Tom Locascio. “No matter what we do there will be some that think it is less than ideal.”

In a presentation on Tuesday evening, the board looked at several options to make up the lost time, including the original option to start with the March break, however, if school were to close after the February vacation was over, the school would have only the March break to work with. If the school completes less than 180 days of school, they will lose state aid granted by the government.

“If we lose additional days, we can lose state aid. That is a genuine concern,” said district superintendent, Susan Agruso. “I’m concerned about this winter.”

The March break includes many religious days of importance including Passover, Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

Members of the board who were part of arranging the 2012-2013 school calendar said that choosing to start with days in the March break as make up days was a mistake and would take that into consideration when make the next school year calendar.

“I think we need to preserve the religious days,” said Locascio.

Suggestions were made by members of the audience to perhaps take a day or two from each vacation, beginning with the December break. In the end, the board thought that taking a consecutive amount of days would be better instructionally for the students, rather than to send them in for one or two days on each break.

"It's not optimal, but it is probably the way to go," said board member Charlie Leo. "I can't imagine that Dec. 27 and 28 would be well attended days."

Jim Pappas, president of the Kings Park Classroom Teachers Association advocated for sticking with the original decision to use days in March as make-up days.

"It is already in place," said Pappas. "Parents and teachers have made changes and now we are switching it back again, why?"

Resident Mitch Holsburg, who was supposed to go away during the February break, said he thought it was a fair decision.

"We will cancel and take the penalty," he said. "I think it is a fair compromise. If you want your kid in class, they will be in class."

Steve Neuwirth thought it was a good idea to use days in February, rather than wait.

"Left as it is, we run the risk of getting stuck without any make up days and we can lose state aid," he said.

The new calendar will give 179 instructional days for students with four conference days, totaling 183 days of school.

“We want our kids in school,” said Agruso. “That is what we believe in… SAT’s aren’t getting any easier, there is no clause for days lost to Hurricane Sandy.”

Days Closed  Make Up Days Oct. 29 May 24 Oct. 30 Feb. 19 Oct. 31 Feb. 20 Nov. 1 Feb. 21 Nov. 2 Feb. 22 Nov. 7 Nov. 7 (conference day)

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Tina S. November 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Unbelievable! If you're so concerned about this winter then the kids should have absolutely been in school the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving at least making up one of the days. And to Mr. Locascio and the rest of the board, if you think we should "preserve the religious holidays" then WHY the heck did you all approve the calendar to have the first 3 makeup days that very same week? It's an absolute bunch of nonsense.
Kerry Smith November 29, 2012 at 01:01 PM
I agree!!!! The day before Thanksgiving is NOT a holiday and most parents do not want or need their kids home that day as most are busy prepping for the holiday. We are one of the few districts that is closed that day and it simply makes no sense!!!!!
barbara s November 29, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Does anything the board proposed make sense? I also agree....Wednesday was such a nothing day to have children home...Such a waste ...I like the proposal of a few days taken from each holiday...This way everyone enjoys their holidays and wont even miss the time taken back. Barbara Schmidt.
michelle soss November 29, 2012 at 03:23 PM
I appreciate the change of decision previously mentioned to use Passover as the first choice....
chris p November 29, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Perhaps it's time for for board to reconvene and pick up the ball they dropped with their decision.To take the entire vacation away is inconceivable.
KPLifer November 29, 2012 at 03:41 PM
There was a very long comunity discussion a the board meeting prior to the decision. If you wabt to be heard, the meeting is the time and place, not the patch!. The BOE and Dr. Argruso did a great job with a situation created by a catostrophic storm. FYI: if we have a terrible blizzrd, it is possible that school will be open on Passover, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday. Keep your fingers crossed for no snow.
Tina S. November 29, 2012 at 04:16 PM
FYI -- MANY people sent letters to the school and MANY people objected to the decision to take the entire February break away at that meeting....MANY, if not most, people were in favor of splitting the time. And IF there is a concern about a terrible blizzard then the board should have taken Wednesday (day before Thanksgiving) back for this year just to be on the safe side.....and split the remaining days between all the breaks or at least February & March. If I'm not mistaken, they also have 2 conference day left as well that could have been used to give back some days to the February break. To approve a calendar with 3 emergencies days during a "holy" week and then to decide that because it is a "holy" week that they don't want to use that time is inexcusable and poor planning and decision making. Many people AND teachers plan vacations around those emergency days that are non-refundable. Wouldn't it be easier for all involved to have a handful of kids (and teachers) to miss a day or so during each of those breaks than to have an entire week? Just disgusting! And with a unanimous vote, do you really think the board didn't have their minds made up before they walked into that meeting?
Stevo November 29, 2012 at 05:57 PM
There will be many kids missing on those make up days!!
KPLifer November 29, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Many people and teachers have non-refundable airline tickets for all of the holidays! There was no simple easy solution. In any scenario, there will be less than happy people. There was a very good community discussion at teh meeting. The decision was the best for the EDUCATION of the students. At the end of the day that is all that matters. parents will have to decide which is more important - the vacation or the education. No one expected a catastrophe that would affect all. Just be lucky that you still have a house to live in as many, many dont. Talk to the head of the union about the wednesday before thanksgiving - that was his doing.
Jackie November 29, 2012 at 09:50 PM
In reading the comments, it seems to me that "sharing" the days with the weeks the kids have off would have been the best option as far as an "educational" standpoint is concerned. I'd certainly rather my child miss a day or two rather than a week of instruction. Are the teachers being forced to cancel there plans? That seems unfair too. Wouldn't it have been better to share the days and allow teachers (and families) to continue with their plans. I'd rather my child have a substitute for a day or two, rather than a full week. The option the BOE choose doesn't make the most sense to me.
KPLifer November 30, 2012 at 12:37 AM
For all that attended the boe meeting, it makes perfect sense. ALL. School districts have done the exact same thing.
Jackie November 30, 2012 at 12:56 AM
You seem to be "personally" involved in this with all your posts......if ALL your friends shoot dope, should you? Maybe you need to not follow the crowd.
rose November 30, 2012 at 01:20 AM
rose How does the school web-site post they would take away days from spring break and then their office confirm this info... then casually change their minds!! Is'nt our 17k dollars in taxes enough, now they want our hard earned vacation money.. They all should be fired!!!!
KPLifer November 30, 2012 at 02:16 PM
All you idiots need to move away from the box of oreos and realize this situation was as a result of a major catastrophe. In any scenario, some folks would ne unhappy. What was done was to best educate the students, at the end of th day that is all that matters - not anything else. Dr. Argruso and the entire board held a robust discussion with members of the community at the BOE meeting prior to makinf this decision - this was in the best interest of education the students and properly preparing them for regents, AP tests, etc - if you want to be heard, get off your couch and go to a BOE meeting - complaining on the patch is completely useless and do not weigh on any decision making as they are naive, uneducated, and usually null of facts.
chris p November 30, 2012 at 02:51 PM
first of all it's not a couch it's a job.....second i contacted the board to have discussion...third i quadruple dare you to call me an idiot to my face.....please
Stevo November 30, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Who are you to call people on here idiots? I also would like to see you call me an idiot to my face. Maybe you should get your face out of Agrusso's butt!
John K Massaro November 30, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Apparantly, Chris is a wannabe tough guy. Back to the kiddie table with you, little boy...
chris p November 30, 2012 at 04:38 PM
funny....no not really....i just don't enjoy being referred to as an idiot..nor do i think you or anyone would......
KPLifer November 30, 2012 at 08:40 PM
The BOE held a public forum at this weeks meeting. All in attendance had a chance to speak. Attend a meeting and be heard, stop hiding on the patch - no one actually cares what is said here.
Tina S. November 30, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Normally I wouldn't even bother to respond to your constant posts KPLifer but just so you know, SOME people actually work nights and can't attend board meetings. There are other ways in which people can express their thoughts or opinions about ANY subject that the board is presenting without attending a meeting. To call people idiots who are posting about a subject that PATCH placed on their website with a COMMENT button is our choice -- your choice is you don't need respond to them. I think it's high time you took a good, looooong look in the mirror.
Juliet DePinto December 02, 2012 at 07:17 PM
THAT IS THE WAY TO GO, these kids do not need winter break after Christmas break and then get spring break.
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