Parent Complaints Prompt Later Start to 2013-14 School Year

School year was originally planned to begin during Rosh Hashanah

Ramsey students will not start school next year until Monday, Sept. 9, according to a calendar school board officials approved Tuesday night.

The late start date is in reaction to parent concerns about a previously proposed school calendar, which had the first day scheduled for Sept. 6. The original start date was in the middle of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, and school officials said they received many phone calls and emails from parents concerned about the schedule.

“I really just changed one day,” interim Superintendent Bruce DeYoung said of the calendar change that accommodates a day off for Rosh Hashanah.

DeYoung moved a teacher inservice day originally scheduled for Oct. 24 to Sept. 6, pushing back the first day of school, he said.

Oct. 24 will now be a half-day inservice. According to DeYoung, some training and analysis on the new teacher evaluation system will occur on the October half day.

Several parents at the Board of Education meeting Tuesday night thanked the board for making the change, and asked that in the future, more consideration be taken when crafting the school calendar.

“My concern is that [calendar changes only come after] pressure from clergy and parents,” Debbie Falkow said. "It happens year in and year out, and it’s getting old.”

In response to Falkow asking the board how it could be more proactive in regard to scheduling, DeYoung said he would put together calendar guidelines to leave to the Superintendent that will replace him when his interim position expires this summer.

Falkow said she would appreciate district action, as scheduling conflicts are often something Jewish and other parents in the district deal with every year.

“Two years ago, the Philadelphia trip was the day after the second night of Passover,” she said as an example. “The appearance of cultural and religious insensitivity is apparent to those acutely aware of it.”

The discussion comes after a long debate about the calendar changes made to the end of this school year in order to make up for days lost during Hurricane Sandy.

The 2013-2014 school calendar also includes a six-day Holiday Recess in December, and a five-day Spring Break in April. High school graduation is scheduled for June 20, 2014.

Submit your questions or news tips to jessica.mazzola@patch.com. And, remember to sign up for Ramsey Patch's daily newsletter, and get updates on Facebook and Twitter.


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