BY GINA G. SCALA
Hurricane Sandy may yet claim the summer of 2013 for some in the Garden State. More than a month after she obliterated the Jersey Shore, Sandy’s wreath is threatening to extend the school year for some districts.
This in the wake of state Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf announcing he has no plans to waive the 180-day school year requirement for those schools impacted by the storm, according to the Star Ledger of Newark.
“We are not waiving the rule and do not intend to waive the rule in an across-the-board way," he said during the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee meeting this week.
"The committee is probing the scope of the Sandy’s impact while determining how to help with recovery. Cerf said the education department could make an exception under “extreme circumstances.”
In an effort to save the summer, school districts could take back days off; cutting out winter or spring breaks or could opt for holding school on Saturday; that’s an option Cerf doesn’t like.
The Star Ledger reported Cerf is concerned district’s would only schedule classes for four hours on Saturday; the minimum required by law to be considered as a full day of learning.
Some school districts were shut down for two weeks in the aftermath of Sandy due to power outages and impassable roads. Even with some of the schools regularly closed for Election Day and the annual Teacher’s Convention in Atlantic City, districts are grappling to make up a week or more of loss time.
It’s a good thing New Jersey isn’t one of the five states looking to add 300 more classroom hours a year in some schools; starting next year. The three-year pilot program is aimed at boosting student achievement and creating a more competitive U.S. school system on a global-level.