It is a very short school week for Palm Beach County students, with no classes Tuesday and Friday. For the full calendar go here.
Tuesday, students get to stay home to make way for voters at 117 schools-turned-polling places. Teachers, however, will be clocking in for a teacher work day.
The district moved to clear students from campus on major election days back in 2010. Traffic and general safety concerns drove the move supported in the end by both school administrators and Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher.
Without students, the parking lot didn’t become a traffic jam of students and voters arriving at once and principals no longer had to worry about strangers wandering the campus.
Friday, both students and teachers have the day off as the district recognizes Veterans Day. In years past, students have had the day off, but teachers worked, but the arrangement didn’t sit well with some who spoke up at school board meetings, recalled teachers union President Kathi Gundlach.
Next up: three days off at Thanksgiving and a late start to the winter holiday, complicated by Christmas falling on a Sunday. Students end the week before on Thursday and a teacher work day falls that Friday before Christmas Eve.
Teachers are not supposed to take a personal day off on the day before or after a holiday, and there was concern that this rule could snag some folks’ travel plans, Gundlach said. The compromise is that district administrators have said they would be more flexible this year, she said.
“Is it the ideal calendar? Absolutely not, but we can’t change the date of Christmas,” Gundlach said. “There’s cooperation. We’re working to give teachers more flexibility.”