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Next year’s public school calendars are set

School Superintendent Gary Richards speaks at the Jan 24 school board public hearing. (James Passeri photo)

School Superintendent Gary Richards speaks at the Jan 24 school board public hearing. (James Passeri photo)

Mother Nature doesn’t attend any of the Wilton schools, yet she impacted the calendar for the next school year.

The Board of Education announced at its meeting on Thursday night, Feb. 7, that it will amend the calendar for the 2013-14 school year.

The primary reason for the change is an attempt to be proactive to weather-related issues, where the board felt it was reactive in the past.

The intention, according to board chairman Bruce Likly, was to give families a better handle on how inclement weather would affect the school year.

As a result, classes will begin on Aug. 26 and end on June 9. Potential delays could push the end date as far back as June 20.

The plan would reduce the number of parent-teacher conference days from five to four.

Initially, the calendar called for a professional development day on Feb. 3, but that will change to Feb. 13, thus allowing for a five-day weekend — instead of a full week off — with students returning to class on Feb. 18.

With all the adjustments factored in, the new calendar will allow for 10 days that can be used for weather-related cancellations. Instructional days would be affected after the 10 days are used up.

Superintendent Gary Richards indicated the board discussed these changes with the principals of the individual schools, as well as Wilton Education Association President Andrew Nicsaji.

The announcement was met with minimal debate, by comparison to the night’s hot topic of full-day kindergarten. (See story on page 7A.) However, one parent, Tiffany Tecce, spoke out against the change, saying it seemed like it was being done too late for parents to prepare for the new school year. She was in favor of keeping the full-week February break.

Any changes to holidays must be negotiated with the four bargaining units. Columbus Day seems to be the most likely holiday to meet the criteria for changing from a holiday to an instructional day, but the board will keep that as is for 2013-14.

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