Board readies decision on changes to schedule


Staff Writer

SAYREVILLE — The Board of Education is looking at a proposal that will get students into and out of school earlier next year.

The board recently discussed the issue of ending the school year earlier next year, citing rising temperatures and the fact that schools are unequipped with air conditioning.

Several proposed schedules for 2005-06 are being considered by the board, which is expected to choose one at its meeting Tuesday.

Public school districts are required to hold classes for students 180 to 182 days in a school year, while teachers are required to have between 184 and 186 days.

According to interim Superintendent Frank Alfano, one of the main scenarios under consideration would have teachers starting school on Sept. 1 and 2, prior to Labor Day, which is Sept. 5. Students would begin classes on Sept. 6. Teachers are given two days at the beginning of the year before students begin classes.

Currently, teachers are scheduled to return to school Sept. 6 and 7, with students returning Sept. 8.

This proposed schedule change could also see the elimination of Columbus Day as a holiday.

Though he is aware that some school districts do have school on Columbus Day, Alfano had some concerns about this proposed change.

“I think traditionally, Columbus Day has been on the roles as a day off,” he said. “To be honest, I’ve always been in a district where Columbus Day was off.”

Some board members suggested the school day could be used to further educate students about Christopher Columbus, so that the holiday would not be completely forgotten.

Still, board member Danny DiPaolo, who is also a member of the Knights of Columbus, said he was unsure whether he could “in good conscience vote for” a schedule that has schools open on Columbus Day.

Board President Al Cox said he believes the board will be able to come up with a solution.

“I’m sure we’ll come to some conclusion,” he said. “We have to have closure so people can start planning for September. So we’ll get it done.”

When asked how the public would react to the possibility of changes like the elimination of Columbus Day as a holiday, Cox could not answer.

“To be honest, I don’t really know,” he said. “Personally, I haven’t had a lot of feedback from the public. As we do with everything, if the public has comments or feedback on this issue, they can [contact us].”

The next board meeting, where Cox said he expects to discuss the schedule changes for 2005-06, will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Sayreville War Memorial High School.