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New school calendar shortens lengthy winter break

Date: 3/15/2011

March 14, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM — Students in the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District (HWRSD) won't be enjoying a two-week winter break next school year.

The Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School Committee recently decided to do away with the extended winter recess when they voted on the 2011-2012 school calendar.

"With the way the holidays fell this year, it didn't make it a very good option," Superintendent M. Martin O'Shea said. "If we had gone that road, the break could have been over two weeks long and that would have pushed us even closer [to] June 30."

June 30 is the last day classes may be conducted, according to teacher contracts.

O'Shea added that the difficulties in regards to snow days this year also played a role in the decision.

"It certainly was a factor," O'Shea said. "We had a difficult time making sure we got the 180 required school days in."

The 2010-2011 school calendar originally called for a two-week break from Dec. 20, 2010 to Jan. 31. The final day of classes was slated for June 14, according to this schedule.

However, an excessive number of snow days pushed the district very close to June 30, which resulted in the elimination of spring break in April in a measure to provide some relief.

In 2011-2012, the students will have a winter break that extends from Dec. 22 through Jan. 2, for a total of seven non-weekend days off. In 2010-2011, the district had 10 non-weekend days off for the winter.

While originally viewed as a viable cost-cutting option in which the schools' systems, including heat and electricity were shut down, O'Shea said the district was not able to take full advantage of the savings anticipated from the extended break.

"Even though there were no classes for two weeks, because of the use of the schools by the community, plus all of the cleaning, we were not able to have two weeks of hard shutdown," O'Shea said. "After it was said and done, we were only able to take advantage of one week's hard shutdown."

The school year will begin on Aug. 30 with classes taking place until Labor Day on Sept. 5 and resuming on Sept. 6.

February recess is slated to begin on Presidents' Day, Feb. 20, 2012 and run through Feb. 24, 2012. Spring recess will take place from April 16 through 20, 2012.

The last day of classes is scheduled for June 14, 2012. Should the district be forced to use all of the five anticipated cancellation days, the final day of classes would be June 21, 2012.

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