Proposal would have schools out Thanksgiving week

Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 2:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 2:12 p.m.

No parents or teachers spoke at a public hearing regarding the 2013-2014 school calendar at last Tuesday night’s Alachua County School Board meeting.

The public had the opportunity to chime in on the two proposals under consideration by the board — one that has a “fall break” for the entire week of Thanksgiving and another that does not.

The original proposal drafted by district personnel has Thanksgiving break starting on the Wednesday before the holiday, as it does now. The Alachua County Education Association proposal includes the fall break, where the whole week of Thanksgiving is a holiday and two days are tacked on to the end of the year.

Karen McCann, president of the ACEA, said teachers have shown interest in the idea because there is a higher rate of absences during that week.

Only McCann spoke during the hearing, explaining that teachers have reached out to the union to express interest in the idea.

Of Florida’s 67 counties, 28 currently have the whole week off, 34 have Wednesday through Friday off and five are off only Thursday and Friday.

Board members disagreed on whether the fall break plan would have a negative impact on working parents who need to find child care.

Board member April Griffin said she worried about hourly workers who might have to take time off that week.

“If you work an hourly wage, and you can’t work for two days because you have to be home with your kids, that’s significant,” she said.

Board member Gunnar Paulson argued that since the calendar still has the same total number of school days, parents would have to deal with child care regardless, either in November or at the end of the school year.

“It’s going to affect them some place,” he said.

The board will vote on the issue at a later meeting, but members asked for more input from school employees and parents.

“I really do hope that if parents feel strongly one way or the other, they email us,” he said.

Anyone with input can email the School Board at

Joey Flechas is a Gainesville Sun staff writer.

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