Ice Storm Towns Curious Why H1N1 Schools Get Pass

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Edward & Joan Marry

Ice Storm Towns Curious Why H1N1 Schools Get PassWBZ

There’s a storm brewing over some school districts being required to make up lost days, while others are not.

“Well I really don’t think its fair,” said Holden parent Kim Drozd.

Her three children had to go to school on scheduled days off, on Saturdays and will be in class until June 26 to make up for eight days lost during the December ice storm.

The storm crippled many central Massachusetts communities. When school officials asked for a waiver of the state’s mandatory 180 day school year, it was rejected.

“It would have been nice if we were allotted that free time,” said Drozd.

But now the parents are taken aback by Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester’s announcement he will be “flexible” with schools that are closed because of the swine flu.

He will allow them to be in session fewer than 180 days.

Chester says it’s not a matter of what happened, but rather when it happened. “We have a lot more degrees of flexibility when we’re looking at adjusting the calendar in December than with three weeks left in the school year.”

Still, parents in central Massachusetts are curious. John from Holden sent WBZ a curiosity question that said the move was “…unfair and arbitrary. Either there is a 180 day requirement or there isn’t.”

Chester responded. “There is 180 day requirement but when we have extraordinary circumstances at the eleventh hour, we need to deal with each of those on case by case basis.”

Kristin from Pepperell asks “…is there favoritism going on?”

“No favoritism whatsoever,” said Chester.

Holden parent Beth Donsbach feels it’s more a case of geography, as to why central Mass is being treated differently.

“It’s Boston, its closer to where the (Department of Education) is.”

So far the education commissioner has not received any requests for waivers, but a spokesperson for the Boston Public School system says they will file.

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