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Stamford School Board Settles on 2012-13 Calendar

STAMFORD, Conn. — Three calendar options for the 2012-13 school year were presented to Stamford’s Board of Education , but members decided on a fourth in a 5-4 vote at a Tuesday night meeting.

Under the calendar, suggested by member Gary Klein , school will start Aug. 28 and end between June 17 and 21, depending on the number of snow days. Weeklong breaks are slated for February and April.

Controversy surrounded the change of Sept. 18 from a day off for the second day of Rosh Hashanah to a professional development day for teachers. In an independent survey of other school districts, Klein found that most only have one day off for the observance of the Jewish New Year.

Klein, the newest member of the board, thought the switch of the professional development day from Oct. 9 to Sept. 18 would be tough for Jewish teachers. But he said they could choose to use the religious observance day in their contract. Klein said he knows a teacher who always takes off Holy Thursday and said it was the same decision Jewish teachers would face on Rosh Hashanah.

“If a quarter of the staff is not there, it is a defeated day,” board President Polly Rauh said. She said that when she was teacher, sometimes there were not enough substitutes to cover for the large number of teachers taking the day off.

Although there was some discussion about eliminating the February break, it was kept for various reasons, including family vacations. Board member Richard Lyons II said the district should look into developing voluntary tutor sessions that week for the statewide mastery tests students take in March.

“I think that would be fabulous new ground to break,” board member Geoff Alswanger said in agreeing with Lyons.

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