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Board of Education Members Can't Agree on a School Calendar

Three tie votes resulted in a stalemate on proposals for the academic calendar for the 2013-14 school year.

Board of Education Chairman Darrell Trump's absence was felt Monday night after three attempts to adopt a calendar for the 2013-14 school year failed when votes were deadlocked. Trump is traveling on business.

The main points of disagreement was over Supt. of Schools James Agostine's proposal to have no school on Columbus and Veterans days. Several board members want school to be in session to allow for more flexibility in making up for cancellations due to snow and other inclement weather.

Agostine said he proposed to have no school on those days because having school would cost the district a total of $44,000 more, because of agreements with several unions to have the holidays off. He told the board the issue could come up during the next round of negotiations.

"Other districts found kids didn't know what Veterans Day was other than another day off," Board Vice Chairwoman Donna Lane said, adding now those schools have curriculum honoring veterans on the holiday.

Lane expressed her belief that $44,000 is "a small price to pay" for saving a teacher training day that could be lost to make up for school cancellations during a bad October.

Board of Education member, Lee Crouch, opposed having school on the two holidays absent an agreement with the unions. "The $44,000, that's a teacher," she said of how the money could be put to better use.

Agostine reiterated that his decision to have Veterans and Columbus days off is a financial one. But he also told the board that Veterans Day activities go on in Monroe's schools every year before taking off for the holiday.

A motion to approve an amendment for the school calendar to hold classes on Veterans and Columbus days failed 4 to 4.

Lane, Secretary Mark Hughes, Mark Antinozzi and Dr. Alan Vaglivelo all voted in favor of the motion and Crouch, Kelly Plunkett, George King and Jeff Guttman opposed it.

Two Other Votes Fail

The school board then voted on the calendar Agostine had proposed without any changes, but it resulted in another tie vote with Crouch, Plunkett, King and Guttman in favor and Lane, Hughes, Antinozzi and Vaglivelo against.

In one last attempt to approve a calendar that night, Vaglivelo proposed an amendment to approve the calendar with classes on Veterans Day, but not on Columbus Day. It also went down in a 4 to 4 vote.

Lane, Hughes, Antinozzi and Vaglivelo all voted in favor of the motion and Crouch, Plunkett, King and Guttman opposed it.

jim laguardia February 06, 2013 at 07:07 PM
But in THIS case there really is no reason for the union to have to do anything until the next contract.... it would be much cheaper to just vote to keep the days off than to renegotiate with lawyers etc..... getting involved. "It is what it is" for now.
Lisa B. February 06, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Again - it isn't the teachers OR the teacher's union that are driving the $44k in this instance. There are many unions in town that are associated with the schools - the paraprofessionals, the janitors, the secretaries - they all have union agreements which provide for a certain number of paid holidays. And I understand the frustration with union arrangements and the difficulty this presents in switching things up but I don't want the teachers OR their union to be assigned blame for something that isn't their issue. I am certain there will be plenty of people blaming them for plenty of things from now until forever - but in this case - it is not their contract that keeps the schools closed and it is not that they wouldn't be willing to provide additional instruction on Veteran's Day - as they ALL DID last year. Thanks.
jim laguardia February 06, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Sorry Lisa my comment should have had an "s" at the end of union making it plural....
Alex February 06, 2013 at 09:51 PM
That 44K expense is a result of the contract negotiations with the unions to have no school on those days in combination with the board members pushing to have school on those days. Are you denying that? If we tried to take 2 days from June, and have school on Columbus and Veterans day (not adding or removing days from the school calendar, just moving), do you think the unions would object? Either way, pointless as we both agree spending 44K for this is stupid.
Monroe resident February 07, 2013 at 02:55 AM
It is not the teachers union that is the problem here. Custodians are also in a union.

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