2014-12-24 / Around Town

Middletown Explores Shorter February Vacation

By Olga Enger

In 2016, Middletown students may see their traditional week-long February break shortened. The new schedule, proposed by Superintendent Rosemarie Kraeger, aligns with the updated calendar provided by the Rhode Island School Superintendents, Association. The proposal would not change the number of days (180) students attend school.

“It shortens the break, with Monday and Tuesday off, but not the rest of the week. We would still have April break,” said Kraeger.

The association unanimously approved the non-binding recommendation last June. The revised schedule eliminates the need to make up snow days, which often pushes out the last day of school until late June, and provides more continuity between the Christmas break and the spring recess in April.

The association cannot mandate the change, but a few Rhode Island districts have already shortened the February break, said Kraeger.

The superintendent added there were discussions about introducing a March vacation, similar to private schools, but since that falls in the middle of testing season, some superintendents voiced concerns.

The proposed 2015-16 calendar has the first day of school on Sept. 8 and the last day of school on June 9. Kraeger said that Labor Day is late next year, but most families and teachers prefer to begin the school year after the holiday. Spring break wo­uld remain a week long, beginning Monday, April 18.

This school year began on Sept. 3 and will end June 18, with June 16- 25 planned for snow make-up days.

Middletown School Committee Chair Theresa Silveira Spengler said the February change may be too extreme, since many families travel during that week-long vacation.

“I'd hate to see them lose that break, but I would like it to be a five-day weekend,” said Spengler. “It’s more attractive to people than a four-day weekend. It’s more palatable, the best of both worlds.”

The superintendent said they will send out a survey to parents and teachers after the holidays to gauge interest in the proposal. Kraeger added that revisions will also be reviewed by union leadership.

In other business

.Spengler was unanimously re-appointed as committee chair; Kellie DiPalma Simeone was unanimously re-appointed as vice-chair; and Kraeger was unanimously reappointed as clerk. Spengler said she is proud of the “high-performing district” and looks forward to working together with town council for the district and community over the next two years.

.The Middletown district is projected to lose approximately $315,000 of state education aid in fiscal year 2016. The funds are distributed to districts for specific purposes, such as group homes, reimbursements for providing textbooks to non-public schools, and a partial subsidy for school breakfast meals served.

.The committee will request an extension to spend $1.5 million of impact fees, accumulated over an eight-year period, said Kraeger. Ideas for facility improvements and pre-K programs have been explored, but a concrete plan has yet to be formed, said the superintendent.

Return to top