CB Calendar Brings Changes for Next Year

The calendar for 2013-2014 calls for school to be held on days that Central Bucks has had off in recent years.

Central Bucks students won't have the whole week of Thanksgiving off next year, and they'll be in school on Election Day.

They won't start school until after Labor Day, but seventh and tenth graders won't get the school to themselves on their first day.

Those are among several changes new superintendent Dr. Rod Green made to next year's school calendar.

The tweaks did not win unanimous support from school board members. Though the school calendar for 2013-2014 was approved, it won passage on a 7-2 vote Tuesday night.

Board members John Gamble and Kelly Unger voted against the new schedule.

Green said he designed the new calendar after hearing input from school principals, district administrators and parents.

"Obviously, it doesn’t incorporate everyone’s wishes," Green said at Tuesday night's school board meeting. "But getting out on June 12 and starting after Labor Day is a pretty good calendar."

Next year's calendar outlines 184 student days and 193 teacher days.

All students will report for the first day of school on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

In recent years, returning middle and high-school students didn't start until the following day. That gave new seventh and tenth grade students a day to deal with their lockers, navigate the hallways and find their classrooms.

But Green said it doesn't count as an official school day if all the district's students don't attend.

Board member Joe Jagelka questioned the change, saying that incoming students liked having that day to get over their nervousness. But Green said middle and high school principals will look at other ways, including advance tours and orientations, to help students feel confident in their new schools.

"We think we can address that need without having a day off," the superintendent said.

After a day off on Sept. 5 for Rosh Hashanah, students and teachers will get no breaks until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. That long stretch prompted Gamble to vote against the new schedule.

"That's a long time for students to go with no days off," Gamble said after the meeting. "It's a long time for teachers, too. I'd have liked to have seen a day or two in there where they could catch their breath."

Unger said she is concerned about sending kids to school on Election Day. Some of the district's schools are used as polling places and would therefore have to be accessible to the public while kids are in the building.

"I feel for security purposes, students shouldn’t be in school on Election Day," Unger said.

Geri McMullin, who has been on the board for 30 years, said schools used to be open on Election Day. Over the years, she said, the board began scheduling days off first for presidential elections, which typically bring the highest voter turnout.

After the meeting Gamble expressed another concern about having school on Election Day. Like many parents, he said, he brings his son into the voting booth with him, something he won't be able to do if school is in session.

"It's a family process," Gamble said, adding that he and his son talk about the importance of voting and about the candidates. "So when he grows up, he knows how important it is."

The 2013-2014 school calendar includes three days off over Thanksgiving, eight days off over Christmas and three days off over Easter. Other days off include Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day and Memorial Day.

For full details, click on the attached PDF files or scroll down to page 152 of the school board agenda packet.

Gatormom January 24, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Kudos to Dr. Green for making the much needed schedule changes. Central Bucks is now much more in line with schools across the country. Now if he would only add a weeklong spring break.... Who wants a week off at Thanksgiving when you could have a week off in the Spring when everyone needs a break from the weather? Having a Spring Break after the PSSA's would be perfect as I think all students and teachers could use it then!
Pam January 24, 2013 at 11:52 PM
Why can't kids go to school Sept 5th? they're starting the school year on the 3rd ! It's too early for a break. The kids don't get Chinese New Year's off, so why does the whole district need to take off school on the Jewish New Year's Day? I think the parent's should dictate whether they send their child to school that day or not. Don't cancel school for the entire district. I think children should NOT be in school on election day. Our kids will not miss this important national event & we will excuse them from school on election day for two reasons.1-Our kids vote with us because it is important to discuss voting as a good citizen of the community and to show them the 'talk in action' 2- the general public having access to schools where kids and strangers mix is a 'NO' in our book, generally lacking in good judgement and security. Dr. Green should rethink this issue. Dismissal time for walkers will be high risk security time. Other unnecessary days off are those 'half days' where the marking period ends and 'development days'. Gee half day Fri 1/24 followed by full day off 1/27Mon, what's with that? Completely unnecessary, recharge over the weekend. I venture to say many families will take the whole week off at Thanksgiving anyhow, regardless of the posted school schedule. Spring break should be all on one week, not split up into two broken weeks. 7th graders find the first day alone in middle school invaluable to their adjustment. Parent input??
Jennifer January 25, 2013 at 12:51 PM
There is no reason children should not attend on Election Day. They can learn about elections and even hold "elections" in class. I do not enjoy standing in line waiting to vote with a restless child or watching other restless children or those cannot cannot be control or disciplined by their parents. We always had voting in our school and it was handled in a manner that the children and public did not mix. I think the year round school program is outstanding! The benefits to the children are absolute worth the adjustment. 7th and 10th graders get the school to themselves to adjust? Please give me break, when they start college to they get the campus to themselves on the first day to adjust. They are old enough to handle it. Stop babying them! I really hope that CBSD will review the successes in other districts that have year round school and not be afraid to make changes for fear of community backlash.
Jennifer Passantino January 25, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Why can't the kids start a week earlier so they can get out sooner than the middle of June?
CB Parent May 21, 2013 at 02:32 PM
It has been a CB tradition to delay school start by one day for higher grades: 8th & 9th and 11th & 12th. This allows the 7th and 10th graders a day to acclimate to the new school, and gives a little perk for "time served" to older students. Strongly believe this practice should continue.


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