By Michael Coughlin Jr.
During the Revere School Committee’s regular meeting on Tuesday, May 16, the committee did not support a proposal to change the last day of school for students this year.
Committee Member John Kingston put a motion before his colleagues to make the last day of school for students Tuesday, June 20, instead of Wednesday, June 21 – a day in which students come in for less than three hours.
Essentially Kingston made this motion to help relieve the burden on parents in what would be a quick turnaround between picking up and dropping off their kids.
“It’s a very short school day – it’s approximately less than three hours, and I’ve had a number of parents say to me it’s difficult for them to make that transition. They’re literally dropping their child off, and before they know it, they’re coming back to pick them up,” said Kingston.
It should be noted that this motion was to change the last day of school only for students – staff would still come in to take care of their business before they left for the summer. Even with the point of staff still having to come in being made clear, there were concerns about how it would affect the contracts negotiated with staff.
The contract talk as it relates to this subject seemed to frustrate both Kingston and fellow Committee Member Michael Ferrante.
“I’m not saying anything about staff – staff would be required to come in as always, but the students wouldn’t. We’re over the number of days and hours, in my opinion – I’ll do the math with you anytime you’d like,” said Kingston.
“It has nothing to do with contractually – the teachers are still coming to school.”
Ferrante echoed Kingston saying, “We’re not reducing the teacher’s obligations. All Mr. Kingston wanted to do was not have the kids come in for the half-day – that’s the crux of his substitute motion.”
Even with these statements made, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dianne Kelly still went back to contracts.
“I don’t know when that day was negotiated with the union … But I am sure there were some gives and takes that brought that day into being and making it be such a short day, and the insistence that it was with students and I don’t know right now what the give and take were for that day, but there were contract negotiations made,” said Kelly.
Not only did Kelly reinforce the point about contracts, but she also disagreed with the assertion made by Kingston that parents have complained about the short day.
“I’ve not had any complaints from parents that have said, please just don’t let kids come to school that day – I’ve had complaints from teachers saying that,” said Kelly.
Kelly also thought it was important to have that half-day for parents who might need those few hours to care for their children.
“I know that for a lot of parents, it’s a few more hours of the day that they can either get some final things done or don’t have to pay for child care or whatever the case may be,” said Kelly.
“I think more of the parents who rely on us – in some sense – to make sure their children are cared for. I worry about them a little bit more than I worry about the parents, who are situated such that it’s an annoyance to bring their child to school for a few hours.”
Overall, as aforementioned, Kingston’s motion was not supported, and a vote of 3-2 struck it down – Acting Mayor Patrick Keefe voted present – so the last day of school for students will remain Wednesday, June 21.