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No Early Start For Fairfield Schools Next Year

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s school calendar will not change much for the 2013-2014 school year. Proposals to move the first day of school and hold classes on Veterans Day were both rejected Tuesday night.

In the past two years, the school board has looked for ways to move up the last day of school to accommodate more snow days at the end of the year. Last year, the board decided to get rid of February break and instead have a four-day weekend in the middle of the month using a professional development day and President’s Day.

This year, Board of Education member Tim Kery suggested having school start two days earlier on the Tuesday before Labor Day. The idea was to avoid a two-day week before a three-day weekend and have school end earlier to allow for more snow days before moving into April Vacation??.

But that change would have brought Fairfield’s teachers in for meetings on Aug. 22, instead of the following Monday. Some board members felt it was unfair to teachers to end their summer vacations early to save days at the end of the year.

“Last year and this year are very atypical,” said Ann Pasco, head of the Fairfield teachers union. “And I would ask the board to focus on the many years that we survived with five [snow] days or less.”

Board member Jennifer Maxon Kennelly said last month that she would propose holding school on Veterans Day next year and have in-school presentations to honor veterans. But for the second straight year, veterans groups protested. Kennelly said Tuesday night that she had changed her mind and decided not to bring the idea to a vote.

She also explained that she did not suggest the idea in order to move up the end of school. Instead, she wanted to have more focus on the in-school assemblies for veterans.

“Fairfield has been doing a poor job, in the early 2000s, especially in the upper grades, with teaching our children … and that they are missing some critical fundamental lessons in civics, in what veterans have done for this country on so many fronts,” Kennelly said Tuesday. “And it is because I believe that they are missing that lesson that I brought up the issue of school on Veterans Day.”

The 2013-2014 school year will start as planned on Thursday, Aug. 29. Sixth- and ninth-graders will start their years with orientation days on Aug. 28, and teachers will report to school as early as Aug. 26 for training and meetings. The tentative last day of classes is June 11, if no days are lost to bad weather.

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