Should the School Year Be Reduced to 170 Days?

Commack School District says it is awaiting word on proposed legislation that would lower educational requirement from 180 to 170 school days.


Commack students rejoiced when Hurricane Sandy closed schools for a day or two, but will they feel the same as school officials look to make up lost time. 

Commack School Districts were closed for a full week in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's destruction, causing downed trees and massive power outages throughout the town. The students lost an addition day on Nov. 8 after the nor`easter swept across Long Island. 

Due to these school closings, Commack school officials admitted the district will fall short of the 180 days of education required to meet state requirement. 

There is legislation pending that may provide a solution. 

The district issues a statement on its website

 [T]here is pending legislation that would lower the requirement to 170 days for districts in need. Once we are made aware of the dispensation of said legislation, we will be better able to address calendar concerns. 

State education law requires a minimum of 180 school days per school year, though the state education commissioner is authorized to excuse at most five days for extraordinary circumstances if those days could not be made up by using scheduled vacation days as make-up days. According to a memo published on the state education department's website:

The following are circumstances that may be approved by the Commissioner as extraordinary conditions:  extraordinarily adverse weather conditions, an impairment of heating facilities, an insufficient water supply, a fuel shortage, a lack of electricity, a natural gas leak, unacceptable levels of chemical substances, or the destruction of a school building.

According to the state education department, a declaration of a state of emergency by the governor does not automatically mean school districts can hold fewer than 180 school days. School districts must meet the 180-day requirement in order to be eligible for state funding.

In 2011, the state legislature passed a resolution allowing school districts to be considered for an exception to the 180-day rule of up to 10 days instead of five due to extreme weather conditions such as tropical storm Irene in August of last year.

A state education department representative said Friday that a similar bill has been filed in the state legislature for this school year.

Do you think the school year should be shortened from 180 days to 170 days? Or should students make up the days by losing time from scheduled vacations? Tell us in the comments below. 

corinda giglio November 13, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Unfortunately many families have made and paid for their vacation plans for Feb mid-winter break. Anyone travelling by air will face non refundable tickets and the carriers who will allow date changes will hit them with at least an additional $100.00 per ticket fee as well as any difference in the cost of the airfare. This can add up to a good piece of change for an average family of five. Never mind the ones who cannot rearrange their work schedules......
GLENN November 13, 2012 at 07:14 PM
These teachers and school staff have it made, big pay 2 extra weeks off...NICE!
Phil November 13, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Everyone is just soo snobby, rude, and just flat out bitter! Why does everything people comment on here immediately start off cynical, and argumentative! I have never seen more people looking to bicker with one another more than the people on the commack patch! Everyone just stop already! Just because you are unhappy people don't look to argue with others. Get a grip.
VT November 13, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Reduce the school year but DO NOT pay the staff for the days not worked. This way the taxpayer does not get screwed once again.
R J November 13, 2012 at 09:52 PM
So the single Mom making 10.00 an hour as an aide (or less in the cafeteria), the secretaries, bus drivers should all be docked for the school closing. These same people that also had no electricity oand suffered untold storm damage should be made to suffer even more? Please!
Vince November 13, 2012 at 10:48 PM
You're an idiot.
VT November 13, 2012 at 11:17 PM
YES THATS RIGHT... thats the law, no work = no pay. Why are they any different than the millions of others that did not get paid, like the divorced dad who will not have his alimony or child support reduced cause he wasnt paid.
Vince November 13, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Vt Get off welfare, stop being lazy and get an education instead of trying to bring other people downtown your level!
Vince November 13, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Vt It's people like you who won't ever become useful in society
Vince November 13, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Ann Do you really believe that the teachers who were off live far from Long Island and were unaffected by the storm? You are another idiot!
mommy4 November 14, 2012 at 12:49 AM
I think we should go for the 170 days!!! Many families already made vacation plans that cannot be cancelled or they will lose alot of money. We have no control over our weather. This storm hit us really hard. The state and school districts did the right thing by school closings..
Paul November 14, 2012 at 01:57 AM
I agree, do the 170 Days and don't pay those who did not work. Many people did not get paid when they didn't work. Let Vince pay them all if he feels so strongly.
Arthur Hasher November 14, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I am totally confused. The discussion was about 170 school days instead of 180 school days. The subject of Commack staff getting paid is not the question? If you would like to start another thread on why or why not the Commack School District staff should not get paid for the days off, lets start that thread. It will certainly be a long one with many opinions on both sides
rf November 14, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Count the days in Kings park's calender-171 days open-we pay for empty buildings most of the year.
Marlene November 14, 2012 at 07:23 PM
I'm not a teacher.....I think as tax payers, we have more to attack then teachers and the 180 vs 170 days of school. Right now, there are still people (including teachers) that DO NOT HAVE POWER.... there are still people (including teachers) THAT HAVE NO HOMES TO GO TO. Put your anger and negativity into something that we will NEVER GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN.
Bobbo November 15, 2012 at 12:25 AM
My boys need all the schooling they can get. Keep it at 180 and give up the February vacation.
Marlene November 15, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Bobbo, if they need the extra 10 days, get tutors for them. Why give up Feb Vacation....Christmas Vacation is longer
Rob ONeil November 15, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Oh- just go get some tutors? This tech-savvy generation has grammar and vocabulary issues. Many parents need to both be working full time hours( including school vacation days, holidays, and summer). Having a latch-key child is not an ideal situation. So yes, I think school should be open for at least 180 days. I will not knock the teachers in their chosen profession. In fact, more power to them for all they can get. My concern is teaching the kids so they learn and remember the information given to them. Ten classes a day at 40 or less minutes each before the next subject is hardly enough time to grasp and retain it long enough to use on a homework assignment. Slow down. Teach children properly. And stop shoving data down their throats at breakneck speed because the schedule does not allow for it. Just saying....
Marlene November 15, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Rob, how many classes a day did you have? And how many minutes per class? Did you grasp and retain? Are you speaking from your own experiences?
Rob ONeil November 15, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Speaking from my daughters experence as compared to my experence. She is in 7thbathroom grade. I had 8 periods with a guaranteed lunch period and not have to eat in a classroom every other day like my daughter.
JEL November 15, 2012 at 04:07 PM
180 days should be mandatory... These kids have barely been in school for a full week since school began! Give up February break & get over it... Things happen, school is important, vacation is NOT...
PegLeg November 15, 2012 at 06:32 PM
As a parent, I find it insane that they won't either cancel a week long break or extend the year. To cut the school year by two weeks makes no sense. Yes, I understand the dilemma with cancelling plans. I had to do so for work one year and it was no fun but in all things there are tradeoffs. The tradeoff here is ruining the vacations of some families versus all the kids losing two weeks that is supposed to prepare them for regents, AP and IB exams. If parents still want to pull their kids out they can. I am guessing the majority of us parents want our kids to make up the missed time.
JC November 15, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I sincerely hope they approve going to the 170 days. This was an exceptional, terrible situation for many families. Yes, we want the kids to catch up. My son is in IB and of course I want him prepared for exams, but it's not just about giving up some fun vacation time to make up the days. We have made plans to tour non-local colleges during the Spring Break because he can actually see the schools when they are in session, versus going in the summer. Each family has its own situation and personal concerns as to what is best for our kids for or against the shortened year. How about being civil with the remarks, folks?
Ken November 21, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Don't worry none of our kids will be able to live here when they graduate with these taxes. O wait maybe if they make up the 7 days not 8 they will lol what a joke wake up Commack
GLENN November 24, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Vince, your the idiot these teachers want, want, want and never want to give up anything. Your part of the greedy take system and if anyone questions it you call names or say "it's for the children" that drum beat is old! The teachers in Smithtown need start caring about teaching and less about the big fat pay check they keep getting..
GLENN November 24, 2012 at 05:29 PM
paul...great idea Vince can pay them.
GLENN November 24, 2012 at 05:37 PM
But Ken, it's for the children, you must vote yes and give more, for the CHILDREN. Commack can't wake up they are too busy asking for donations, class money and more $$ for the budget, that is all the Commack schools do FUND RAISE! Since the start of this school year, we have had more request for donations, clothes,coats, gift cards, money toys and it never stops. Commack is no longer a school diet. it is a fund raising money making district. I asked what they spend the box top money on ( this year so far they collected around $1,350) ?I got no answers YET!
John Gruber November 24, 2012 at 05:44 PM
First of all, for those not wanting to pay the teachers, they make a salary, YOU wouldn't want to be paid any less if your office lost power for 10 days and you couldn't work. While we're at it Team Owners shouldn't pay athletes for games that are canceled, regardless of the fact if they were there ready to do their job...they don't control the fact if they work or not and their salaries shouldn't suffer because of freak storms, regardless if you think they're overpaid already (which I think they kind of are). Also, I've never heard of 8-10 school days in October affecting exams being taken in May and June...
John Gruber November 24, 2012 at 05:46 PM
2 extra weeks without power and heat, I guess those teachers are just spoiled....
Marlene November 25, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Annmarie, I hope your not someday a person who needs anything that Fund Raisers provide!


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