Simon: No Make Up Days Needed From Sandy

Superintendent says school district as of now will meet the State's 180-day requirement.

The first day of winter is more than a month away, but West Islip School District officials are likely hoping for a season with little snowfall.

At Thursday night’s Board of Education meeting at the high school, Superintendent Richard Simon said that the six school days lost to Hurricane Sandy will not require the school district to augment its calendar.

“We are at the point now that if we have no snow days, we will just hit the minimum 180 days required by New York State,” he said.

Should winter weather force administrators to shut schools in the months ahead, Simon said makeup days would be taken from spring break, which runs from March 25 to March 29 and leads into Easter. Thursday, March 28, and Friday, March 29, are Holy Thursday and Good Friday respectively.

Discussion over whether State legislators will waive the 180-day requirement for school districts remains just that. Simon said during a recent superintendent conference with State Sen. John Flanagan, R-East Northport, chairman of the senate’s Education Committee, the senator said the issue pertaining to school days will likely not be discussed until the spring.

Simon also said that as a result of Sandy, 15 school district staff members either lost their homes entirely or had extraordinary damage to personal property. He did not indentify those staffers, but did say those most impacted live along shorefront communities including Massapequa and Amityville.

During a Lionheart meeting on Wednesday, officials said more than 30 families of students suffered significant damage to homes and personal property. That organization is now working to fundraise to help local families recover from Sandy.

2013-2014 Calendar

While Sandy has played havoc with the current school year calendar, New York’s scheduling of Regents examinations in the 2013-14 school year is providing a different set of challenges for school administrators.

Simon presented the BOE with five school calendar options to review for the next school year.

At issue is that the 13-14 school year closes on Friday, June 20, cutting an entire week out of June that would normally provide school administrators with greater flexibility when developing school calendars.

That issue, combined with when the Jewish holiday fall in September and Christmas Day and New Years Day falling on Wednesdays is leaving school officials with a tight window to reach the 180 days required by the state.

Among the options now being weighed for the 13-14 school year by board of education trustees is reducing the number of superintendent conference days, trimming days off during spring break and possibility starting the school year the final week of August.

A final decision is expected in the coming weeks.

Budget Time

The budget formation process will soon begin and Simon said challenges persist and the district works within the confines of the State’s tax levy cap.

“We are facing a rise in expenses that are out of our control,” he explained. “Our retirement costs are rising six percent higher than we were originally told.”

The superintendent said the school district’s Budget Advisory Committee would reconvene on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m. at Udall Road Middle School. The meeting is open to the public. Those interested in participating should visit the school district’s website where an application will be posted. 

George November 30, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Yes, except that Simon sez you must go to school instead of taking your February break.
pampatriot November 30, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Nov. 15th meeting, two weeks ago, it was announced to the community that Spring break would be used should winter weather be an issue for school closings, but as things stood, the district was well within the normal limits of 180 days, therefore, no make up days would be required. So naturally, relying on that information, parents planned family vacays accordingly, taking into consideration the threat to the Spring break that was announced. We all know we are going to be affected by winter weather, we typically are. Is it any wonder why Rich is always so skeptical and disgruntled? Do you see a pattern here? This is leadership? The right hand (who is paid in spades) doesn't know what the left hand is doing, and as usual, the community is jumping through hoops, catering to their every whim.
pampatriot November 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM
As for the 13/14 calendar year, lose the idea of opening school before Labor Day! Some of these breaks during the school year are a day or two, too long as it is. I would rather my kids get out into the fresh air earlier in June, finish out the summer until after Labor day, than have them home for over a week during any one of these spring and winter breaks (especially if they aren't going away) besides the fact that these days, how many families can still afford to go away anymore? What's more, this year, winter break and spring break were going to be back to back, Feb and March, right? I'd say, in the future, (with enough PROPER advanced notice) the Feb break should be axed. We have Christmas break, into New Years and then Feb break right around the corner from it, then Easter and Passover right behind. I'd say the kids have more than enough breaks IMHO.
Wendy Regan November 30, 2012 at 03:12 PM
The latest 180 degree turn is just another example in the long line of examples of how the BOE and the Superintendent make decisions, announce them to the public, only to then do the exact opposite of what was announced. Hey, we should consider ourselves lucky to have been told before February-- most of the time it’s not made public that they’re going in the opposite direction, they just do it and then back pedal when called on it. This also serves as an excellent example in a long line of examples of how decisions are made at district level before fully exploring the impact those decisions will have on the actual EDUCATION of our children.
pampatriot November 30, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Hear, hear!


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