School Calendars at Odds Among Districts
Trying to align dates among area schools isn't easy.
This month, the school boards for Watchung Hills Regional and its four sending district will be approving calendars for the upcoming school year, and caps some occasionally confusing and complicated considerations.
The starting dates aren't in question: anxious kids go back to school Sept. 5 in Green Brook, but the district has already discussed changing it to Sept. 6, the same as all of the other districts.
But the other end of the calendar may get some changes, since Christmas and New Year's fall on Tuesdays, squeezing in the required 180 days of school puts the end of the year at a potentially problematic place.
"The reason we are scheduled so late is because many of the holidays or breaks fall in mid-week," WHRHS Superintendent Frances Stromsland said.
For example, Green Brook's calendar currently has school ending on June 18 and 19, but calendar had mistakenly counted March 22 as a class day. When corrected, the last day becomes June 24.
"If we don't use snow days, school will end on a Monday—and you don't want to end the school year on a Monday," Green Brook Superintendent Richard Labbe said at the Green Brook board's July 23 meeting.
All of the districts have four snow or emergency days built into the calendars, but recent history is keeping officials nervous about the need for extra days. Should another powerful storm cut electrical power to schools for an extended period, as happened last year after Tropical Storm Irene and the October snowstorm, days could be subtracted from spring breaks, scheduled as March 25 through April 1 in all districts.
At the high school, the problem is compounded by graduation. The school must set a firm date early to allow scheduling, and may need to reserve another location becasue of the larger graduating classes coming up.