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Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Sandy cuts into Rockville Centre school vacation
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At the school board meeting on Nov. 20, Mindy Edelman, a math teacher at South Side Middle School, asked about those teachers who could not cancel their plans without incurring large fees. “Losing the seven teaching days is a tremendous amount, considering all the demands the state puts on us … and I think the February break, pedagogically speaking, makes the most sense,” Edelman said. “But speaking on behalf of the faculty … there was a great concern that they already made their plans a year in advance. I was wondering if there would be any way not to penalize those who have already paid their airfare.”

The board responded that it was looking into options like that, but was not yet able to offer any answers. A village resident also made the point that if teachers don’t show up, the motivation for students to show up is reduced.

Other ideas suggested to the board included opening on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and adding days to the end of the school year. Johnson explained that it was not legal to do either. He added that either opening schools on scheduled vacation days or failing to meet the state’s required number of school days would come at a cost. According to Johnson, the school would be fined $28,000 a day below the minimum.

The final vote by the board ended in a 3-2 split, with board President Liz Dion, Vice President Mark Masin and Trustee Mayda Kramer voting to restore the four days in February. Dion said that a buffer day was necessary because of the possibility of snowstorms, while Masin and Kramer said that their decision was based on the students.

“I feel that we need, as a body here, to do what is best for the educational well being of our students,” Masin said. “With all due respect, we’re in the business of providing education, not vacations.”


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