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Westport Schools Plan Ways To Make Up Lost Days

WESTPORT, Conn. – Less than two weeks into the school year, Westport has already used two of its three built-in cancellation days thanks to Hurricane Irene. And with the uncertainty of what winter will bring, the Board of Education on Monday night discussed how to make up those days.

The most logical option would be to extend the school year by two days so school would end June 22 instead of June 20, Superintendent Elliott Landon told the board. "This would ensure we start school with three [built-in] emergency days as originally planned," Landon said.

If the board were to approve this option and the district ended up not using the days, they would be cut and the school year could potentially end as early as June 19, he said.

Board Chairman Don O'Day said another option would be to extend the school year by one day and to reduce the number of instructional days from 182 to 181. The state requires a minimum of 180 instructional days. The school year in Westport is 182 instructional days, so these two additional days can be cut without the district going below what is required by law.

Last year, the number of instructional days was reduced to 181 because of the number of snow days. Although it is again a viable option, board member Mike McGovern is against it.

"We should keep all 182 days of instruction — I think that has to be the bottom line for us," McGovern said. "I think adding two days to the end of the year is the right way to start."

Board member Elaine Whitney and Vice Chairman Jim Marpe agreed with McGovern that it's important to retain all182 instructional days and that extending the year is the best option to do so.

"If we're looking to add June 21 and June 22, if we declare that now as our first option, it puts Westporters on notice not to leave for vacation on June 20," Marpe said.

The board will vote on a decision at its Sept. 26 meeting.

Vanessa Inzitari can be reached at vinzitari@thedailywestport.com .

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