Spring break snafu: A pain for parents


— It looks as though many parents may have a tough choice this spring, thanks to the state of New York. Most districts have long ago sent out their school calendars, outlining when the various breaks, including mid-winter recess and, yes, spring break will occur. Many parents use that calendar to plan family vacations, booking well ahead to make sure that popular time of year does not result in excessively expensive or unavailable plane fares and hotel reservations.

This year the Cazenovia School District planned its spring break for April 16 through 20, well away from the usual May testing dates for statewide English Language Arts testing.

On Aug. 26, the state announced its decision to move the ELA tests to the week of April 16 to 20, stating it needs results from the test, given to students in grades 3 through 8, back in a timely manner. The test results are utilized for new teacher evaluation guidelines which will secure $700 million in federal funding.

This change is an obvious conflict for the district and the parents and staff who so diligently mapped out their week away with the kids.

So, what to do? The F-M Board of Education has already announced its decision, changing the district’s spring break to April 9 to 13 during a special meeting of the BOE Sept. 1. Although the Cazenovia School District has not yet announced its decision, it is likely many districts will follow suit.

That leaves many parents with decisions to make. Miss the test? Lose any money already spent on non-refundable airline tickets and other reservations made? Cause their children to miss school during a week they were told they had off?

The state should not have made this an issue. If they could have let the school districts know in a more timely manner that the tests would be moved out of May, families throughout New York would not be feeling this pain.

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