“The superintendent of schools proposed make up days over the February break in the best educational interests of the District students,” said board President Tony Iadevaio in a prepared statement last week. “Unfortunately, the teachers’ union rejected this proposal and voted to abide by the present contract.
“The Board of Education finds that the teachers’ union action is not in the best educational interests of the students,” he continued. “However, counsel has advised that the teachers’ union would prevail in an arbitration on this matter.”
Herrmann said there were two choices that members of the teachers’ association had to pick from. One would cancel the February break, with the exception of Presidents’ Day, and the other would make up one day on Feb. 15 and add two superintendent conference days in June. The teachers voted 516 to 212 in favor of the latter, Herrmann said.
“We thought it was a bit of a compromise,” he said of the calendar changes. “We didn’t have to give up even one day [of February break] and we did give up the one day.” He also called Iadevaio’s statement “gratuitous and unwarranted.”
If the New York State Board of Regents moved the Regents Exams back a week, Herrmann said, then Valley Stream schools could have been kept open an extra week, but he learned the proposal wasn’t unlikely because it would be too costly to have two separate testing periods for the upstate and downstate regions of New York.
In order to give students more time in the classrooms, the high school board also approved changes that require students to come to school during midterm exam week in January. In years past, students only came to school that week when they had an exam to take. Now, Heidenreich said, it will operate much like how the Advanced Placement exams are administered in May — students take the exams when scheduled then return to their normal schedule.
In the event that additional make-up days are needed as a result of a school closing prior to the February recess, the first day made up will be Feb. 20, if two days are needed then Feb. 19 will be made up and if a third day is needed then there will be school on Feb. 18 as well.