By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — FULTON, Ill. — Teachers and educational support personnel in the River Bend School District have spoken and they do not want to lose their holidays to make up snow emergency cancelations.
Ninety-one River Bend employees responded to a survey conducted by superintendent Dr. Chuck Holliday, who asked which proposed 2014-2015 calendar days they preferred for making up snow days.
Approximately 39 employees, about 43 percent of the vote, chose to make those days up at the end of the year, but River Bend School Board members didn’t agree with that option.
“I would recommend that we’d do the Pulaski Day and four spring break days based on your thought about doing the days early in the year,” Holliday said. “Also in conversations that we had as a principals’ group, it’s cooler in (the schools) earlier in the year.”
Some school board officials agreed that using the spring break days and Pulaski Day, the first Monday of March and observed only in Illinois, was the best scenario because it offered relief from the heat of summer as well as kept kids in school more consistently.
School board president Dan Portz did not agree.
He felt they could offer Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an alternative to one of the spring break days, in which teachers and staff would still receive holiday pay if the day needed to be used.
He also suggested adding one day to the end of the year, removing yet another make-up day from the scheduled spring break.
“I like your idea but at the same time I also think we could probably get Martin Luther King Day,” he said. “Because what we’re trying to do is prepare for testing during that time.”
What concerned the employees at River Bend, as displayed in the survey’s comment section, was not receiving extra pay for the holidays planned in the year’s schedule.
Several employees stated that “making up snow days on holidays is unfair to those that would otherwise get paid for those holidays” in their responses on the survey, a concern that Portz said would not be affected by the school board’s decision.
“If we held school on a day that is marked as a holiday then we’re going to pay them,” Portz said.
“So, they would be paid for the work day and for the holiday,” added Holliday.
Despite an uneven vote, 4-2, the River Bend School Board decided to accept the recommendation from the superintendent and designate four days of spring break and Polaski Day as make-up days for school emergency cancelations, also siding with many of the 57 percent of employees who voted against the days being made up at the end of the year.