Yonkers Schools Uncertain About Making Up Days From Sandy

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No decision has been made on whether or not the mandatory 180-day school year can be shortened because of days lost to Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Matt Bultman

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Yonkers Schools Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio is continuing discussions with the New York State Department of Education regarding the loss of school days as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

State Education Commissioner John King can excuse up to five of the necessary 180 school days for "extraordinary circumstances," according to the department, but only after all possible vacation days are used up in the district.

While the state implemented a provision for last year that pushed the requirement up to 10 excusable days after Hurricane Irene, Education Department spokesperson Antonia Valentine said it's too soon to tell whether a similar provision will be enacted this year.

"We can't predict whether the Legislature will act to provide relief from the 180-day requirement again this year," Valentine wrote in an email.

The department's regulations say that not even a state of emergency — which was declared by several towns in Westchester County and by Gov. Andrew Cuomo — will excuse schools to operate for fewer than 180 days.

The Yonkers School District will be open Tuesday to make up for one of the school days lost due to Hurricane Sandy, said Yonkers school officials.

As for the remaining days, Pierorazio will inform families and staff regarding how the district will proceed once a decision is made.

Yonkers resident and parent John Perez said he would support whatever decision the school officials make.

"I honestly wouldn't mind a ruling one way or the other," said Perez. "On one hand yeah the kids did miss out on a week of school, and there's definitely work that needs to be made up. On the other hand it was because of a hurricane, so it shouldn't be mandatory. I remember what it's like to be a kid, and I'm kind of rooting for the time to not be made up."

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