March 2, 2015 Public Hearing


Quincy, Massachusetts - March 2, 2015
Quincy School Committee Public Hearing: School Year Calendars

Public Hearing

A Public Hearing on School Year Calendars was held by the Quincy School Committee on March 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm at the Coddington Building. Present were Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Noel DiBona, Ms. Barbara Isola, Mayor Thomas Koch, Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mr. David McCarthy, and Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Vice Chair.

Vice-Chair Presiding

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The Superintendent called the roll and all were present. Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary; Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk; Mr. Michael Draicchio, Mrs. Mary Fredrickson, Mr. James Mullaney, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Mrs. Maura Papile, Mrs. Erin Perkins, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, Ms. Judy Todd, Mrs. Ruth Witmer; Quincy Education Association President Allison Cox; and Citywide Parents Council Co-Presidents Scott Alessandro and Paula Reynolds

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Public Hearing

Quincy School Committee held a public hearing on School Year Calendars. All interested persons were given an opportunity to be heard.

Superintendent DeCristofaro welcomed the audience members and reviewed that with the eleven weather-related closings, Quincy Public Schools is scheduled to hold classes through June 30 with one day to make up. Dr. DeCristofaro noted that a waiver request has been submitted for the three state of emergency days to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), but we have not received a response to date. He reviewed the considerations for this year's calendar and next year's calendar that were surveyed. For 2014-2015, options to make up the 180th day include Good Friday, a Saturday, or during April vacation. These rescheduled school days can be early release days. Extended days may be considered to make up additional days, but DESE must grant a waiver for this as well.

Mrs. Hubley then invited the public to address the School Committee.

Mrs. Eileen Enos thanked School Committee for surveying parents, students, and staff. She suggested that School Committee and Superintendent do what is best for students educationally for this school year. For next year, would like to start before Labor Day, eliminate Good Friday, and have March vacation week.

Ms. Jennifer Goba, echoed Mrs. Enos's thoughts about 2014-2015. Agrees that starting before Labor Day makes sense in years where Labor Day is late and that Good Friday should be a school day, but does not support the March vacation.

Mr. Joseph Desmond spoke in support of retaining Good Friday as a school holiday, citing respect for religion.

Ms. Patti Jaehnig spoke in opposition to starting the school year before Labor Day. For this year, is not in favor of re-scheduling days on weekends, vacation, or holidays, given the costs and impact on working families.

Ms. Kelly DeFelice expressed concern about school year extending into late June. She supports an early release day on Good Friday and extended days for this year, and would like to explore “blizzard bags” and a March vacation week for next year.

Citywide Parent Council Co-President Scott Alessandro reviewed their informal survey results and reported that the majority of responders were interested in making up time prior to June. Extended day was the first choice, followed by Good Friday and April vacation (with packets for students with vacation plans). For next year, eliminating Good Friday and having one vacation were popular options. There is some support for starting before Labor Day, and the suggestion is to have a policy that September 1 is the earliest day to start the school year. This situation is giving us the chance to assess what is best for student learning and most parents would agree that later in the school year is not the best time for student learning.

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On a motion by Mr. Bregoli, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, the Public Hearing was adjourned at 6:20 p.m. On a voice vote, the ayes have it.