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Should the School Year Be Reduced to 170 Days?

No word has been given by the Smithtown Central School District if the state-required 180 days of school would or could be reduced in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Smithtown students rejoiced when Hurricane Sandy closed schools for a day or two, but will they feel the same if school officials look to make up lost time?

The Smithtown Central School District was closed for a week in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's destruction, causing downed trees and massive power outages throughout the Town of Smithtown. 

While schools were closed for an extended period of time, there has been no word from the district as of Tuesday afternoon if and how they will hit the state-required 180 days of school.

According to the Commack School District website, there is legislation pending that hints that there could be a possible shortened school year:

[T]here is pending legislation that would lower the requirement to 170 days for districts in need. Once we are made aware of the dispensation of said legislation, we will be better able to address calendar concerns. 

State education law requires a minimum of 180 school days per school year, though the state education commissioner is authorized to excuse at most five days for extraordinary circumstances if those days could not be made up by using scheduled vacation days as make-up days. According to a memo published on the state education department's website:

The following are circumstances that may be approved by the Commissioner as extraordinary conditions:  extraordinarily adverse weather conditions, an impairment of heating facilities, an insufficient water supply, a fuel shortage, a lack of electricity, a natural gas leak, unacceptable levels of chemical substances, or the destruction of a school building.

According to the state education department, a declaration of a state of emergency by the governor does not automatically mean school districts can hold fewer than 180 school days. School districts must meet the 180-day requirement in order to be eligible for state funding.

In 2011, the state legislature passed a resolution allowing school districts to be considered for an exception to the 180-day rule of up to 10 days instead of five due to extreme weather conditions such as tropical storm Irene in August of last year.

A state education department representative said Friday that a similar bill has been filed in the state legislature for this school year.

Do you think the school year should be shortened from 180 days to 170 days? Or should students make up the days by losing time from scheduled vacations? Tell us in the comments below. 

E Baum November 20, 2012 at 12:32 AM
ENOUGH! I am no longer going to follow this thread. I am ashamed that the people in town have such little civility. I hope the moderator can delete this entire thing. Perhaps we would all be better served focusing on the season in which we are about to enter and start by being thankful for all that we have. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope that your holiday will be filled with health and joy.
JG - St. James November 20, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Benice, I must admit you have given me some good laughs, but I can see you are a lost cause, so I am writing you off. I honestly do feel sorry for you, your jealousy is eating you up. You need to stop trying to deny educated people the right to make a decent salary. If you can't swing the Smithtown tax bill than maybe you need to consider moving on, like the rest of the empty nesters in Smithtown who have nothing better to do than complain about school taxes, I hear florida is nice this time of year. Happy Thanksgiving!!
Stop complaining November 20, 2012 at 03:49 PM
First of all its hard to blame the teachers for their salaries. How many of you in the private sector tell your manager you will work for less money. I compare it to Alex Rodriguez, is it his fault someone offered him $300,000,000? Would you expect anyone to take less money then they are offered? Also, if you want to extend the school year into July or August just imagine how much your taxes will go up to pay for air conditioning for all the classrooms... You can't have kids in school buildings on a 95 degree day without it, those building hold in so much heat. The amount of complaints that would be on this site would be overwhelming that their taxes are going up. Maybe parents should start to spend more time with their children. For all of those that complain about taxes, this has been an issue on Long Island for a very long time why would you still live here if it's that much of an issue.
Sticks60 November 28, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Obviously you have never worked in the private sector. Just think, once tenured you can't be fired, the district will never go out of business, no moving your job off shore and your pension is guaranteed. I wonder how much of reality our students get exposed to each day in the classroom if the teachers never experienced it.
RLWM November 29, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Hello everyone. I have read every comment on this stream and have my opinion but kind of stand offish. But hear it goes anyway. My children will be in school when others may be on vaccation that week. Instead of spending quality time with them and letting them run free. For you who say to these parents that they do not care about thier childs education because they will take them on their yearly vaccation is not true for some maybe. But the ones I know ask for whatever homework that will be given through the break. And yes they give homework or projects during breaks and holiday breaks. I agree they should make up these days at night for teacher/parent conf. We go in the evening to meet the teachers they don't give a day off for that! I don't want to argue with you St. James but you never said if you have children in school, only friends that are teachers. I totally agree that a teacher is well paid for a job well done. And I really commend your teacher friends who teach in El school who buy their supplies etc. but I spent alot of money buying my childrens school supplies (not complaining) but things like dry erasers that my child doesn't use the teacher does, red pens that my child does'nt use again for teacher the list goes on and on. It isn't the same as it was when we were children. The break is good for the kids because the homework is insane 2 hrs a night for a 3rd grader! and I have to correct the work before it goes back to school! what is the teacher bringing home?

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