Westport's April School Break Faces The Chopping Block

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Westport's Board of Education discussed options Monday for making up days lost after Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari

WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport students may not get to enjoy a full week of vacation in April thanks to Hurricane Sandy. The Board of Education on Monday night discussed cutting the vacation down to three days, or canceling it altogether, as two options for making up lost days.

The storm caused students to miss an entire week of school from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2. But because three of those days were built into the school calendar as planned cancellation days, only two have to be made up.

However, with an unpredictable winter ahead, there may be more weather-related cancellations. That’s why Superintendent Elliott Landon recommended that the three lost “snow days” also be made up, giving the district five make-up days – just in case.

One way to add five make-up days is by eliminating April vacation, currently scheduled for April 15 to April 19. If there were no more weather-related closings before that week, Landon said the board could revert the decision to be open for that entire week. 

"If we only have the two days to make up when we get to April, the board would have the option of saying there will only be two days of instruction that week, which I think is fine," Landon said Tuesday. 

The second option involves cutting April vacation to three days, extending the school year by one day and rescheduling two staff development days. Specifically, the last day of school would be moved to June 21, there would be school on April 18 and 19, and the staff development days set for Jan. 18 and Feb. 25 would be rescheduled for the week of April vacation. By moving the staff development days, Jan. 18 and Feb. 25 would be used as student instruction days.

Under this scenario, if the three additional make-up days were not used, they would likely be cut from the end of the school year.

The first option, Landon told the board, is the one he favors most.

Other possible options for making up the lost days include extending the school year, cutting into February vacation and reducing the total number of instructional days from 182, which the district schedules, to 180, which the state requires. None of these options, however, are ones Landon recommends.

No action was taken by the board. A decision will be voted on at its next meeting on Dec. 3.

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