SPARTA, NJ – It is no secret that the winter weather has played havoc with the school calendar. Superintendent Dr. Michael Rossi explained his plan for the district to make up the extra days in a letter to the “Sparta Learning Community” on Thursday.
Rossi said high school graduation will remain on June 22 and the middle school completion ceremony will remain on June 21. He said "all students will be required to attend school through the last week in June,” as "half sessions." Diplomas will not be able to be released until “we have 180 days complete” as required by state law.
Sparta schools had five emergency closure days built into the calendar that was approved March of 2017 by the board of education. Those days have been exhausted and exceeded with the possibility of more to come.
The note at the bottom of the published district calendar says, “In the event that these days are exceeded, days will be added to the calendar during the week of June 25th and Graduation will occur on the last day of school.” Rossi’s letter alters that slightly.
Rossi said he did not want to take days away from spring break, which is scheduled for April 2 to 6. He also said going to school on Saturday was not optimal. Rossi said he did not want to use either option because “student and employee attendance would be significantly impacted"; staff have spring sport coaching duties and families and staff have travel plans.
According to the Sparta Board of Education district policy 8210, it is the board’s responsibility to create the school calendar. "The board shall determine annually the days when the schools will be in session"... “The Superintendent shall, in consultation with board annually prepare and submit to the board a school calendar. The board reserves the right to alter the school calendar when such alteration is feasible and serves the best interests of the students of this district.”
As such, board must approve the adjusted calendar for the changes to become official. The next board of education meeting is scheduled for March 26 at 7 p.m. at Mohawk Avenue School.
Rossi’s letter also said the board is currently preparing the calendar for the 2018-2019 school year and he “welcomes your suggestions on it.”