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Winter vacation will be two week-long breaks next year

Over the objections of some, the Lockport School Board voted 6-1 Wednesday to dump the two-week spring vacation centering around Easter for one-week breaks in February and April 2007.

Next year, students will be on vacation from Feb. 19 to 23, and April 9 to 13. Only W. Keith McNall, board president, opposed the change. Board members Maggie P. Lupo and Thomas Fiegl were absent.

McNall said he wished the board had taken time to study the change to determine if it would have had any negative impact on students.

"This is much to-do about nothing," said Beverly P. McDonough, a board member. "There are districts across New York State that have been doing this for 20 years, and they have students performing at very high levels."

Greg Bronson, representing the Lockport Education Association, said excellent students probably would have no problems, but questioned whether breaking up the year in the middle of winter studies might set back struggling students who need constant support.

"It won't hurt students who are getting 3s and 4s on the state assessment tests," he said. "But marginal students who need academic intervention services" require constant access to expertise in certain subject areas to keep up.

He warned the board that it didn't want to come up short and have the state come in and place any schools on the "in need of improvement" list. "We've worked hard to preserve the quality of our schools. If we fall, what will the cost be? What will attract people to Lockport if Delphi goes? It's the school district."

Fred Laskey, who ran unsuccessfully for the School Board last year, said if Delphi goes, Lockport won't be attractive.

Several board members, including Kevin Duffy and John Linderman, said the board can review the move next year and determine if a change is needed.

To continue with the two-week spring vacation, the district would have to bus students to Board of Cooperative Educational Services sessions when city schools were off, which could cost about $27,000 a week, district officials said.

Assistant Superintendent Susan Nablo said the district officials would have to deal with other complications, such as deciding what to so with BOCES students attending city schools during BOCES vacations and during district vacations when city schools are closed and BOCES classes are in progress.

She indicated that remaining synchronized with the BOCES schedule would be more practical and less complicated.

e-mail: pwestmoore@buffnews.com

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