BOE Proposes New Calendar for 2016-2017 School Year


Jackie Sussman, Opinions Editor

On Monday, March 9, the Westport Board of Education discussed the new proposed schedule for the 2016-2017 school year.

According to Superintendent Dr. Elliott Landon, the state mandates that the school year must have at least 180 days of school (Westport has 182), should create a start date that aligns with other neighboring school districts, and is required to have two days for professional development.  In the past, Westport has had 182 school days and the two days for professional development were used on Election Day and Jan. 13.

Landon also said that the state mandates that no district can have more than two week-long school vacation periods during the school year and one uninterrupted break during the summer.

The only changes in the new school year and for future school years proposed by Landon that have been approved by the Teacher’s Association and the Administrative Association is that the school year starts on Thursday, Sept. 1, has a five day break in February instead of the usual one-week break, and would end on June 14 if there are no snow days.

One of the reasons behind not having a legitimate break in February is that Westport is the “lone group in February breaks,” Landon said.  Although Landon principled that having a February break is beneficial for students to get healthy and is an energy saver, Landon reiterated that the new schedule is from a statute by the state.

There are no changes to the school closures on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Election Day, Thanksgiving, December Break, the Jan. 13 Staff Development day, April Break, and Memorial Day.

“I feel bad for the districts that only have two [staff development days]. We are so lucky that we offer our teachers six professional development days,” Michael Gordon, the chair of the Board of Education, said.

Dr. Landon then stated how this new calendar is the statute that was passed and is simply the legislation when asked why Westport has not previously used this state mandated calendar. “It has been on the books for several years and we have not had to implement it because we had contracts in place during the previous years.  This is the first year where we will have to do it.