SPARTA, NJ-Sparta school district Superintendent Dennis Tobin announced his proposal to revise the school calendar for the 2014-2015 school year. Tobin is proposing to have eight emergency closing days. This increased number of days would extend the school year to June 26, 2015.
The calendar approved at the February 27 board meeting had only four emergency closing or snow days and the last day of school was set at June 19.
Tobin said, “I have many parent forums and meetings and at every one of those meetings this subject was brought up. So, listening to the concerns of the Sparta school community, I am proposing these changes.”
Should there be fewer than eight days needed for emergency school closings, the extra days could be added on to extend weekends and add to holiday weekends such as Memorial Day. Tobin did indicate that it would be possible to have the last day of school prior to the graduation so unused days could make the last day of school earlier.
The graduation date must be firm so the facility for Project Graduation can be secured. Project Graduation is an alcohol-free marathon celebration after graduation. Graduation is usually on a Friday so that volunteers who stay overnight do not have to go to work the next day. Since this program began at Sparta High School in 1988 there have not been any fatal motor vehicle accidents on graduation night.
New Jersey schools are mandated to have 180 days of instruction. For the past two years the number of scheduled emergency closing days has been insufficient because of Hurricane Sandy and the unusually harsh winter this past year. This caused many districts throughout the state to investigate alternate plans for meeting the 180 day requirement. Sparta schools had to be in session for what was scheduled to be Spring Break and even on a Saturday.
The Sparta Board of Education members will vote on this proposed revised calendar at the regular meeting on Monday, June 30 at Mohawk Avenue School at 7:30 p.m.