Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


February 13, 2014

School calendar up for vote

Pre- or post-Labor Day start being debated

An early end to summer or a break that extends past Labor Day?

That question is once again before the School Committee, which is considering three calendar choices for next school year.

One of the options has students reporting back in August prior to Labor Day, with the remaining two calling for post-holiday starts.

All three options have teachers returning two days prior to students’ arrival. Those two workshop days are set aside for teacher training and classroom preparations.

The proposals, which were presented at last week’s School Committee meeting, are:

Teachers report Aug. 25, with students returning Aug. 27. The last day of school without any snow days would be June 15.

Teachers report Aug. 27, with students returning Sept. 2. The last day of school without snow days would be June 17.

Teachers report Sept. 2, with students returning Sept. 4. The last day of school without snow days would be June 19.

Each snow day needed would be tacked on to the end of the year.

Because two of the options have teachers reporting back in August, those require approval from the Andover Education Association, the town’s teachers union. The current contract prohibits requiring teachers to return to school before Sept. 1 without their consent. The union is scheduled to take a vote the week of Feb. 24.

“If the teachers don’t vote to waive that, there would only be one option,” union president Kerry Costello said.

The School Committee is accepting public comment on the three proposals in advance of its vote, which is set for March 6. Parents may email their preferences to committee members.

One parent attending last week’s presentation objected to the power the teachers union holds over the start of the school year.

“It would be nice if the School Committee had the authority to start school before Labor Day, without a vote of the teachers,” Bancroft Elementary School parent Shannon Scully said.

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