School Snow Day Make-Up Plan Involves Vacation Weeks

A proposal by Haverhill Public Schools to make up snow days during February and April vacation weeks may not sit well with the local teachers union, said Superintendent James F. Scully.

Scully said with the school year scheduled to end on June 24, there are “four possible make-up days remaining before we have to open schools on Saturdays in the spring.”

Haverhill School Committee President Scott Wood told WHAV no agreement was reached with union leaders during a meeting Wednesday with members of the negotiation subcommittee. Wood called it “a fair plan.”

In a letter to parents on the school district website, Scully wrote:

“I have suggested the possibility of opening the Haverhill Public Schools on Tuesday and Wednesday of February and April vacations and having Good Friday as a half day. The option presented here takes into account regulatory and other requirements that we must adhere to. Using the February option provides us more time to prepare for state testing as many teachers have pointed out to me.”

According to Scully, leaders at parochial schools in Haverhill concur that “we should all be on the same page and do the same thing. They agree, as do most of our staff that this is the right way to deal with this issue.”

“While I have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback, I have also received word from the leadership of our teacher’s union indicating that they do not agree with this plan and that we should consider other options, such as holding school on Memorial Day,” Scully said.

Considering the school district’s contract commitments with the union, Scully added “if the leadership of the union does not support this, my choices then become very, very limited.”

“We have many more staff taking vacations in April than we do in February, so to suggest using the entire April vacation would not be a viable option. We also know from past experiences that Saturdays do not work. Therefore, electing to use two days in February, two days in April and half day on Good Friday puts us in a much better situation than taking no action at all. I know this causes problems for people who have plans and I have asked each school to work with any family that has a situation that arises from this option,” Scully said.

The proposed make-up schedule may be further discussed at tonight’s Haverhill School Committee Meeting.

The Haverhill School Committee meets at 7 p.m. in city council chambers at Haverhill City Hall.

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