We the undersigned respectfully request that the Simsbury Board of Education consider changing the 2010-2011 school year calendar.
The economic realities of many Simsbury families have changed since the decision regarding the 2010-2011 calendar was made in April. Many more families now have two working parents, and are struggling to make ends meet. Many more will be in that situation by the time the next school year begins.
As currently written, the 2010-2011 calendar will force many parents to choose between working and providing appropriate child supervision between the time that school lets out in June 2011 and the time that summer programming for youngsters begins later in the month.
For many families, this difficult decision will leave young children with inadequate adult supervision and older children left to devise their own amusements, perhaps leading to poor decisions.
When explaining why the US Department of Health and Human Services recommended keeping schools open during the H1N1 epidemic, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated, "Children are safest in school." We agree with her position and would extend it to include supervised programming such as summer camp.
Beginning on August 25 and ending on June 7, the 2010-2011 calendar offers insufficient time at the end of August 2010, when parents have more options, and provides too much time in the middle of June 2011, when few child care alternatives are available. We believe that, as written, the 2010-2011 calendar will create a hardship for many families and will put children in harm's way.
We understand that it is the policy of the Board of Education to end school on the second Friday in June. To align with this policy, the calendar should begin no earlier than August 31, 2010 and should end no earlier than June 10, 2011.
No decision is irrevocable, and none is so sound as to eliminate the possibility of further contemplation. We urge you to reopen the question of the 2010-2011 calendar, and to revise it to better reflect policy and to align with the schedules planned for other years.
Thank you for your consideration.