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West Hartford Board of Education Adopts Calendar with Later Start Date

The West Hartford Board of Education approved Option 2 for the 2020-21 academic year

The West Hartford Board of Education voted Tuesday night to approve the calendar for the 2020-21 academic year.

By Ted Glanzer

The West Hartford Board of Education Tuesday evening approved a calendar for the 2020-21 school year that calls for later start date, a later projected end-of-the-school-year date and an April break that is separate from Good Friday and Easter.

After the idea of starting the 2020-21 school year later was raised during the first reading of the calendar at the Board’s Feb. 26 meeting, due to Labor Day falling on Sept. 7 that year, additional options were added at the second reading. The  four separate options the Board considered Tuesday night were:

  • Option 1 would have the school year begin on Aug. 26 with the last day on June 8, with spring break from April 12 to 16.
  • Option 2 would have the school year begin on Sept. 2 and end on June 15, with spring break on April 12 to 16.
  • Option 3 would have the school year begin on Sept. 2, end on June 15, with spring break on April 2 (Good Friday) to 9.
  • Option 4 would have the school year begin Aug. 26, end on June 11, with spring break April 12 to 16, and the addition of three more days off in February to have entire, weeklong winter break from Feb. 15 to 19.  The other three options would have just Feb. 15 and 16 off.
One Board of Education member – Republican Robert Levine – voted in favor of Option 1. The remaining six school board members voted in favor of Option 2.

Board member Mark Zydanowicz said he kept track of the 91 emails received from the public and 24 were in favor of Option 1, 15 were in favor of Option 2, 27 were in favor of Option 3, eight were in favor of either Option 2 or 3, and 23 were in favor of Option 4.

Some of the comments included with the responses were the difficulty of finding camps and child care if the school year ended early and a desire for April vacation to match, at least, Hartford schools. 

School board member Deb Polun said she did some research and found there were fewer “super hot” days in late June than there were in late August.  Further, having an April break in the second week of April – from the 12th to the 16th – would likely align with Hartford, which would be helpful to families who have children in West Hartford schools and CREC schools in the city, as well as Hartford families that have kids in city schools and Open Choice students in West Hartford.

Superintendent of Schools Tom Moore said he was a calendar agnostic. However, having a school year start later enables staff to finish more construction projects in the schools.

“So there is that one positive benefit,” Moore said.

The approved calendar has two days off in February – Feb. 15 and 16. Student representative Gus Bacon said the students he spoke with preferred having an entire week off in February, which was included in Option 4. That option, however, did not have much traction.

“Sorry students, I tried,” Bacon quipped. 

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