Wallingford BOE votes to end school four days earlier

WALLINGFORD — The Board of Education voted Monday night to reduce the 2013-14 school year by four days, making the last day of school June 24. The board also voted to make the final two days of school half days.

The board voted unanimously to reduce the school year. Board members Karen Hlavac and Joe Marrone voted against making the last two days of school half days. Board members Michael Votto and Michael Brooder were not present.

The change in the calendar was recommended by School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo and the administration. Menzo said any additional snow days this year would extend the school year, rather than shorten April vacation.

After eight snow days this school year, Wallingford students were scheduled to go to school until June 30. It was the same situation last year, with the final day of school being the last possible day allowed by state law.

Cheryl Bardoe, a local parent, attended the meeting and asked the Board of Education and administrators about alternative ways of handling snow days in future school calendars.

Not having a specific date to plan around is disruptive to parents, Bardoe said.

Board of Education Chairwoman Roxane McKay said she and the other members acknowledged the “challenges,” and assured Bardoe that the board didn’t want to keep students and teachers in school until June 30.

Earlier this year, Bardoe, a local parent, wrote a letter that she sent to members of the Board of Education. In the letter, Bardoe asked the board to eliminate four school days at the end of the year.

During the 2013-14 school year, students were slated to attend for 184 days. With four days eliminated, students would meet the 180-day state minimum and get out June 24.

Other parents sent similar letters to board members.

Marrone said he “whole- heartedly” supported ending school four days earlier, but didn’t agree with making the last two days of school half days. Last school year, the last week of school was entirely half days. Marrone told Menzo he heard from a number of parents who said the half-day schedule caused scheduling difficulties.

While she voted to approve ending school earlier, Hlavac said the Board of Education would have to continue discussing handling snow days differently in future years.

“I am usually not in favor of reducing the school year because we fought long and hard to get those four extra days,” Hlavac said. “But because of the roofing project and the snow days, I will support this. However, in the future, we need to have more discussions on the calendar.” (203) 317-2235 Twitter: @EricVoRJ

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