OLEY TWP., Pa. - Some parents are outraged after the Oley Valley School Board voted to move up the first day of school.
The decision was made a few weeks ago, but board members had to re-vote Wednesday night. Despite an outcry from parents, they came to the same conclusion.
The school board initially voted June 18 to push up the start of school from Aug. 25 to Aug. 20, upsetting many parents.
"I was outraged they waited for school to be dismissed for summer vacation," said Felix Mummolo, who has three children in the district, one in elementary, middle and high school.
Mummolo said he had a vacation planned for the week of Aug. 18. The school district will excuse the children if the parents fill out an educational trip request, but Mummolo said that would be a lie, and now he has to pay to change his vacation so his children do not miss the first three days.
"They have to be here to make those connections the first few days of school, so I do not think it is fair," said Mummolo.
He was one of several parents who attended the school board meeting to protest the change.
The school board had to re-vote on the issue because the final vote in June was four to three. Board members later discovered they needed the majority of the board, which is five votes, to make a calendar change.
Despite the outcry from parents, the school board still voted to start the school year on Aug. 20.
"I think it is best for the kids. It improves their possibility of having a better education in my opinion because at the beginning of the school year I think kids are ready to start the process of learning rather than in June," said Stephen Burns, president of the Oley Valley School Board.
As a result of teacher negotiations, Burns said the district had to add two more days to the school year.
Because those negotiations did not end until mid-May, the board voted to make the calendar change at its next meeting in June.
"I think everybody on the board is acting in what they believe to be the right thing to do for students," said Burns.
The final vote was six to two. The next school year will end on June 4.
The school board also passed an amendment saying future calendars must be finalized by the May board meeting.
Allentown, PA 18102