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Board Approves Reduction of Spring Break Holiday

Days lost from Hurricane Sandy forced the district to reduce the end of March break down to two days. Any vacations scheduled for that week before Dec. 12 will not have to adhere to district policy and obtain the statement of educational benefit.

The power outages caused by the destructive wind and rain of Hurricane Sandy closed Centennial schools for four days. By Superintendant Dr. Jenny Cressman's calculation, the loss of those instructional days would move the end of the school year to June 27, and the area has yet to encounter the bulk of winter weather.

It is for that reason that the school board accepted the proposal to reduce the planned end-of-March spring break down from six days to only two. Now, instead of a stretch of vacation starting Monday, March 25 and ending Monday, April 1, Centennial schools will be closed only on Tuesday, March 26 and Friday, March 29. The change means that June 20, 2013, remains the last scheduled day of school. 

The two days were maintained in honor of the holidays, Tuesday for the beginning of Passover, and Friday for the start of Easter weekend. Not so coincidentally, the board also approved changing the transition of students, faculty and staff from the old McDonald Elementary to the newly constructed building. Originally scheduled for the spring break, the move will occur after the school year.

Out of respect to the parents and students who have already scheduled vacations during the March break, any families who have booked a trip prior to December 12 will not have to follow the standard vacation procedure of obtaining the statement of education benefit.

However, any days missed while school is in session will count against the 10-day limit for legal absences. If, for example, your family is gone for the full, originally planned break from March 25 to April 1, four days will be counted against that 10-day ceiling.

Pamela December 12, 2012 at 01:36 PM
The loss of 4 days due to hurrican Sandy forced the district to cut the Spring break down to 2 days and moved the end of school to June 27th. We haven't even been hit with winter storms yet. Your going to tell me that they didn't take into account inclement weather for missed days? Has Dr. Cressman and this board ever planned accordingly? How about we add all those extra 15 mins together to come up with those extra days. Better yet maybe administration needs to go back to school to learn that extra days are scheduled into the school PRIOR to the start of school to account to inclement weather in the NORTHEAST. Philadelphia,Neshaminy, Bensalem, and every other school district does it. Why can't Centennial?
James Boyle (Editor) December 12, 2012 at 01:48 PM
The cut of the March break means that the last school day remains June 20.
carol December 12, 2012 at 01:49 PM
If you read it again you will see that it says the end of school will be June 20th...not 27th. (unless we have snow days)
JG December 12, 2012 at 01:57 PM
My question is if Pennsylvania was in a state of emergency during hurricane Sandy - why is that the students need to make up these days? A state of emergency is a state of emergency - only essential personnel to be on the roads. The district needs to apply for these days - so how about they do some work and get that done!!! The kids wouldn't need to lose the break they were looking forward to and also school would still be scheduled to end on June 20 like planned. And I agree with Pamela - lets start scheduling our extra days into the school calendar prior to the start of school. Every surrounding school district does - why not Centennial?
Risa T December 12, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I agree with Pamela. They should have these days built in. But I think what the article is saying is that the reason they are changing the Spring Break to 2 days instead of 6 is so they won't have to extend the school year to the 27th. Of course after the winter storms we may go to the 27th anyway.
Tired of Hypocrisy December 12, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Does Dr. Cressman think we are stupid and/or naive enough to believe the rhetoric being spewed? Had the new building been ready by March, there would have been no reduction in Spring Break and the move would have taken place. It was obvious in September to many the building would not be ready, but not to the District, once again proving their lack of planning not to mention how inept they are. Is it a surprise to the District that we may actually have a snow day or two or more? Why we as parents and taxpayers continue to allow the supposed educated professionals who should be looking for the best for our children, to continue to confuse the facts, is a wonder. Is our family the only one tired of it? And Dr. Cressman, perhaps someone in your office could research getting excused from the days missed due to the hurricane, other districts have already applied. As always, our district is a day late and many brains short.
Marie C December 12, 2012 at 03:14 PM
The state required minimum number of days is 180. Centennial has 183 days scheduled to begin with, so what's the problem. Technically we only have to make up 1 day, not 4. (so far, we didn't even get into winter yet) What about Klinger, is the board going to make them go 1 more day than the rest of the district? Klinger lost 5 days, not 4 days. Also, if they added 4 days to the calendar, the last day would be June 26, not the 27th. The state required minimum hours is 900 hrs. for elementary 950 hrs. for middle school. Since the elementary added 30 mins. to the school day, shouldn't that come into account? The last school my children went to added 10-15 minutes to the school day to make up for all the snow days they lost a few years ago. Philadelphia school district has March 25, 26, & 27 as days they would use to make up for lost days. Why can't Centennial do that? Philadelphia only has 181 days on their school calendar, we are ahead of them by 2 days. There are other days the district can take off of us. I guess I don't mind that the district cut it down to 2 days instead of 6, but personally I'd rather have 2 days in a row. What about Thursday & Friday, or Friday & Monday? (LOL)
Ex December 12, 2012 at 03:16 PM
So if I am reading this correctly they are having school Monday, off Tuesday, going to school Wednesday and Thursday, and having off Friday??? That doesn't make any sense to me.
Just My Opinion December 12, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Well said! Just more of the same from the District that clearly has no regard for the community it is supposed to be serving. One thoughtless decision after another. A roomful of monkeys could probably do better!
Pete Krenshaw December 12, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Look at the bright side... Next year after the state takes over, we will have a whole other set of people supposedly looking after the best interests of our children.
kidsfirst December 12, 2012 at 05:23 PM
It is amazing how little thought is given to the kids who need to go through this transition. Why was the move not just scheduled until Sept. 2013 anyway? It was foolish to disrupt a school year to move more than mid-way through. There are kids who had to leave their small community school they were comfortable in and transition to a much larger school that is a completely different environment for them. All the while in the back of their heads they know it is only temporary and that they have to move again. They will have to learn to navigate another new building, classroom, environment and all with the expectation that they remain focused on learning and not be distracted through this move smack in the middle of the school year. Now, suddenly it is okay for the move to wait until Sept. 2013 so the kids have to adjust again to the new plans. Let's not even get into how ridiculous it is right now for the kids at recess.....crammed into a confined area as the construction continues.....some kids trying to play ball, but in such a small area the kids who are trying to do something else are repeatedly getting hit with the ball or crashed into by kids running around. I have witnessed the recess scene and it is horrible. .
kidsfirst December 12, 2012 at 05:23 PM
(cont'd) Plans should factor in the unexpected and should be suited to the best needs of all involved. I'm not sure who the transition plans were benefitting, but anymore everytime there is a new release on the district, I cringe. If a business was run the way this district is run, needless to say the business would never succeed
Pete Krenshaw December 12, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Check out the testing scores and the district's budget and you will see it is not succeeding.
Leo December 12, 2012 at 06:47 PM
It took the Davis staff much longer than a week to move into the building, and I'm sure there are still things in boxes. The idea to begin with of moving in such a short time didn't make sense. It will be better for teachers and students to move it to Sept., however I feel badly for everyone that was counting on a 10 day spring break vacation and already made plans. Now their children will be charged with absenses.
Michelle Chester December 12, 2012 at 10:37 PM
In the email I just received from Dr Cressman it states that documentation needs to be presented showing the vacation was planned prior to Dec 12th to be considered a lawful absence. Well how am I am going to produce that?!?!?! We are driving to our destination and staying with family. Also many people make plans on the calendar but don't book airfare or hotels this far in advance. In many cases you can get better deals as you get closer to the travel date.
Pete Krenshaw December 12, 2012 at 10:45 PM
This is just par for the course. With a board of nine with most of whom are more interested in their own agendas and promotion of their individual "power", they lead by example. They hired "yes men" administrators who do their biding without question and who are not nearly qualified for their positions. It is no wonder the schools do not meet minimum standards in testing and our taxes have to continually be raised in order to pay for the tributes the board has erected to themselves. Ask Jane Lynch about why we have a planetarium at the high school...this is just one example.
CSD Resident December 13, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Just a few points of clarification...applying for exemptions for days lost due to a state of emergency does not mean you will automatically get the exemption. School code states you can only excuse those days if you cannot end the school year by June 30. That's not the case for any of the local school districts, so no one is getting a pass for the hurricane days. Also, the construction at McDonald IS on schedule, but it does make sense to move over the summer break. The only problem is that it pushes back the demo on the old building which will cost the district more money.
Bend Over December 13, 2012 at 07:40 AM
Peter you described every politician that wins an election. Township Supervisors, School Board Members, Judges, County Commissioners, up to the President. They all have their own agendas. Any politician that says they don't have a personal agenda is full of s.h.i.t.
Tired of Hypocrisy December 13, 2012 at 08:29 AM
"Pushes back the demo on the old building will cost the district more money". Follow the meetings and you will see there is not enough money to demolish the building in April, May, June, etc. "McDonald IS on schedule". Really? All permits have been applied for and granted? Inspections are ongoing and defects are being addressed immediately? If as you assert so strongly, explain the sudden decisions in the past few weeks that all have to do with McDonald. The new building was behind schedule in the early months of construction and has been losing ground weekly. Stop the rhetoric, there are taxpayers and parents that are obviously more astute of the problems within the Administration and the CSB. It is one excuse after another. Understood there are obstacles in new construction but most intelligent people understand that you do not take on more than can be handled at one time. This is especially true when you are responsible for the education of our children and you are using our money to fix the problems incurred by your irresponsibility and arrogance. It takes a moral, upstanding person/entity to admit their mistakes and so far counting the numerous and expensive mistakes made in the past few years, there has been no apology forthcoming from either Administration nor the Board. Whether it is ego, ignorance or stupidity, it is a disgrace the way Centennial conducts business. Priorities are askew.
Marie C December 13, 2012 at 02:15 PM
School code also states that if you can't make up the days by June 30, you revert to the hours instead of the days. Then if you can't make it up by either the days and/or the hours then you apply for an exemption. Since the elementary added 30 mins. to the day, I can't see why the district won't have 900 hrs. by June 20 or at the least the 30th. All the district would have had to do was add about 10 mins to the day to the middle & high school(temporary) if they were short the hours. The board jumped the gun on this one, just like when they practically gave away the other buildings because they were afraid a law would pass that allows a charter to come in and steal the buildings. Notice how Philadelphia and the surrounding districts haven't done anything yet. That's because they are waiting to see what comes about this winter. Hurricane Sandy was not just a weather related closure, it was a storm that crippled the Northeast. Also, it never made sense to try & move over the spring break. Again it just shows how inept this board is.
DJ December 13, 2012 at 09:11 PM
"They will have to learn to navigate another new building," Had no idea this was such a daunting task, I guess our children have no way of doing this and will probably end up just using the bathroom in the hallway because it's so hard to navigate to where they need to go.
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