By Alex Malm
The School Board approved making Jan. 2 a “snow day” during their Dec. 6 School Board meeting.
It was explained by Interim Superintendent, Dan Black, they recently realized they had school scheduled on Jan. 2, which won’t work.
“We have a problem,” said Black.
Black explained that the main reason is that they have two collective bargaining groups that don’t have to work on the Monday following a holiday.
“It doesn’t seem very feasible to run school without bus drivers, support staff, and our custodians,” said Black.
He said the only other district in the state that was in the same situation was Windham, which he said scheduled school on that day.
Black said one of the proposals was to have school on Dec. 23, instead of Jan. 2, but he said that with only a few days left before then it would be difficult for families and staff.
“With 17 days to go I think a lot of people have already made their plans,” said Black.
He said another option would be to push the school year back a day, with June 16 being the last day. He explained the issue is that it would mean that staff would have a three day weekend and then would go back to school for one day.
The other option that the District Administration came up with is to make Jan. 2, a snow day. He said they have built in five snow days in their school calendar.
“Looking at these three options, the easiest to implement would be to call a planned snow day on Jan. 2 at this point in time with this problem in front of us only a few weeks away,” said Black. “If we do have a snowy winter ahead of us after Jan. 2, we do have tools to adapt to making up time if needed down the road.”
One issue that was raised was the fact that hourly employees wouldn’t be paid for the snow day.
Black said the school board could consider paying them for the snow day as a one time only situation.
Black said that it is estimated to cost about $25,000.
School Board member, Bob Slater, said the situation was “definitely unfortunate.”
He said because the mistake was made by the school district and the school board he thought they should pay them for the day since it wasn’t their fault.
“My take on it is we pay them for the day,” said Slater.
School Board Chair, Amy Finamore, said ultimately it is the Board’s decision when it comes to the calendar.
One question that was raised was if they would need to do any kind of memorandum of understanding in order to amend the contract.
Black stated he didn’t think they would have to in this case.
“I think the support staff would appreciate the gesture,” said Black.
The School Board approved making Jan. 2 a snow day and paying their hourly employees for that day.