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Day Off or Early Release? What Was the Right Choice?

The decision to close schools today sparked a debate on the site and on Facebook.

Photo credit: Patch file photo.
Photo credit: Patch file photo.
Winter in New England is no fun for city officials who read weather reports and need to make the final decision -- keep the schools open, close them for the day or schedule an early release.

This storm was especially difficult as the snow totals were constantly in flux mostly because of the rain/snow line.

Peabody and most other nearby school districts decided to close schools on Thursday, while others went with early release and a few brave souls decided to open school for the full day.

The decision is far from perfect and open to second guessing. Peabody Patch readers have been debating the issue on our site and Facebook

What do you think? Should the schools have been closed for the day? Should there have been an early release? Or should the schools be opened today? Let us know in the comment section. 
diane February 13, 2014 at 11:09 AM
1/2 day !!for sure!! Now it will be 95 degress out (with no A/c) and they will expect the kids to pay attention and learn. Please this is New England at some point we have to get used to this. Get rid of one of the vacations !! We don't need April and February!!
Johnny D February 13, 2014 at 11:20 AM
I agree that, in the future, a week of in March would be plenty...but it won't help this year because you would have to give students, parents and staff PLENTY of notice before taking away a vacation. Otherwise the classrooms would be half empty and the school would be full of substitute teachers. I always wondered what happened when a vacation is "taken away" in lieu of extending the school year...do the absences count? Are there repercussions for missing a week of school if your family has a pre-scheduled vacation planned??? Does staff have to use "sick days?" I think it would be impossible to enforce any of this. That being said, I wholeheartedly agree with waiting until the morning to make a decision, but that decision should have been an early release. Count the day and get the kids home safe. Win-win. This superintendent is pretty quick on the trigger...7 snow days last year and 5 so far this year. 3 this year are questionable....1 called the night before and then the snow didn;t even stick...only needed 1 day after winter break, not 2....and this one should have been a dismissal.
Robin February 13, 2014 at 11:35 AM
I just went out to "shovel" my sidewalk....with a broom. It's a dusting of snow and my kids are home from school again. I work at Applebees and my manager laughed when I told him I can't make it in today. He thinks I'm trying to put one over on him. What the heck happened to this country that we cancel school after a half of inch of snow?
Bjean February 13, 2014 at 01:31 PM
They also need to work into the teacher contract that professional development days shouldnt mean an early release for students. Let the teachers come in on their n/s like a saturday. I have to do that as part of my training at my job. Considering they get a years pay for weekends off, summers off, and a christmas, winter and spring break- that right there would save a couple of days. Also, doing a March "spring break" an possibly a ling weekend rather than an entire week off in addition to that, would help conserve some days as well. Since we live in New England, I think 180 days is a bit much since there is the threat of bad weather and all the vacations given.
Bjean February 13, 2014 at 01:31 PM
*Long weekend*
Johnny D February 13, 2014 at 01:59 PM
Do the half-days for PD still count towards the 180? I may be wrong but I think that they do. I am pretty sure the reason they won't do PD on weekends is because the city doesn't want to pay them any more to do so...but in Peabody the teachers do go back a week before the students in order to minimize these "half-days." Also, I don't know a teacher on on earth that wouldn't want to go to school year-round...as long as they were compensated accordingly. A teacher (in Peabody) with a Master's degree and 10 years experience makes about 62K...if they went year round I think that figure would be more in line with other qualified professionals with comparable credentials, and be closer to 80-90K.
Johnny D February 13, 2014 at 01:59 PM
Like many things around here, common sense is trumped by $$$.
Saber Walsh February 14, 2014 at 09:25 AM
Everyone expected a half day. Because politicians ultimately make the call, and they don't even sneeze without checking their poll numbers, this is what we get. Along with plow drivers who almost kill people clearing snow by driving the wrong way on one way streets ("because I CAN you @$!$&") and a poorly cleared hill to the high school, we seem to be back in the 70s around here.

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