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School Still Closed Next Week in West Deptford

West Deptford students will keep their full week off Nov. 5-9.

Despite the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) canceling its annual teachers’ convention, West Deptford schools will remain shuttered Nov. 8-9.

Some school districts are opting to make up days missed by Hurricane Sandy on those days to avoid tacking on time at the end of the school year.

“While we gave serious consideration to having school for our students on those two days, it was not possible due to the fact that our transportation contractor wasn’t able to provide us with enough drivers to cover our routes,” Superintendent Kevin Kitchenman said in a message to parents.

The decision gives West Deptford students an entire week off this coming week, which was planned. The week is marked off as in-service days for staff.

“Our teachers will be working those two days, since they are required to by their contract and the district calendar,” Kitchenman said.

School districts had to scramble this week to make a decision. Some wanted to erase the closure deficit Sandy left behind; others were hesitant to reschedule the days, knowing families plan trips for that time.

Law requires school to be in session 180 days. With the two days off from Sandy, West Deptford students are already facing more time at their desks in June—before a single snowflake has fallen. Last year saw a dearth of the fluffy white stuff, but the area could get hit harder this year with possible above average snowfall.

Gov. Chris Christie had strongly suggested districts go back to school Nov. 8-9 after the NJEA canceled its Atlantic City convention, even hinting he could order schools back in session. 

West Deptford schools are back in session Nov. 12. 

Carrie November 03, 2012 at 04:01 PM
It would be interesting to see the ego maniac "order" the schools back in session. For dstricts who have outside contractors, the DRIVERS are not under contract and can't be forced to report. They would even have a hard time threatening our jobs, just because there is such a shortage of reliable drivers. I'm looking forward to the days off, but would have worked, if called. I just can't stand the Gov.
John Keuler November 03, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Since 2 days were lost to Sandy this week I would prefer the schools be open and the days made up sooner rather than later. I realize transportation is an issue but why not announce the opening with no transportation? I recall this as a common occurrence during snowstorms in the past, maybe not in WD but mutiple other Districts, and would be a viable option. Folks who have plans would be away no matter what but at least it doesn't put the District behind the eight ball this early in the year. As another option, the days could be taken off Easter break. Why force everyone to additional days in June when lets be honest the focus is on summer. This situation, while unprecedented, calls for some out of the box thinking.
Bill Bondar November 03, 2012 at 06:28 PM
From what I just read it seems that the schools could open but they don't have enough drivers. Why is this a problem all of a sudden. We've had no widespread Sandy destruction in this area. Does the school have a performance contract with the transportation company? Why no drivers all of a sudden. Please explain this.
Carrie November 03, 2012 at 08:39 PM
I can only speak from personal experience and can't speak for DeHarts, but, there are enough drivers to fulfil the contract under normal circumstances, but a lot of drivers (such as myself) have already made plans, that can't be changed. The shortage would only be for the 2 days. It's not a matter of performance. We are given a calendar and it includes "make-up" days. We are free to make plans around that schedule, however are advised to try to make plans flexable for the "make-up" days. It's not a matter of performance. Our teachers will still be in session, just not the kids. As for having a "no transportation" day, I wouldn't mind in the least. I am sure that the teachers would be expecting a lot of absenses and have mostly review on those days. But my kids would have to miss.
Kristi Simpkins November 04, 2012 at 01:24 AM
IMO the district should have school this coming Thursday & Friday. Especially since the Convention has now been canceled. However no matter what ruling Mr. Kitchenman finally decided to make not everyone, would have been pleased w/ his choice. People would still be upset @ him. Even if he decided to have school those two days. Can't please everyone. My question however is this. Why have the children stay @ home? Especially if the reason they are @ home isn't there anymore? Just saying.
david November 04, 2012 at 02:18 PM
There was no good reason why kids off school for a week. Every other Districts go to school for half a week. If there was no way get kids to school on Thu & Fri. We could be kid pooling them. I dont think any parent would have problem with that. Its more about teacher and the school board than the kids. That is just sad!
Susan November 04, 2012 at 04:24 PM
It isn't about the teachers. Every teacher I spoke with, including myself, would prefer to make up the two days with the students on Thursday and Friday. It just makes sense.
Dianna Kelly November 05, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Far too many days off for the kids in WD school district...reality is that families probably made plans for the week knowing that kids home for 5 days and that in itself can lead to issues...RV hosting an antibullying event on THURSDAY that a lot of Gloucester County Girls Scouts are scheduled to go to ....not fair to cancel that when those plans made when school calendar showed week off. A lot of hard work put into this event. I agree with comment about having some time taken off during the spring break as that is far enough in advance to reschedule plans some have made, more learning would take place than at the end of the school year when all that is happening is review and waiting to "get out" for summer vaca. Realistically can't please everyone but there are options to try and do. Dianna Kelly
Loretta frame November 05, 2012 at 09:43 PM
when i saw this post i wanted to clarify the truth, we at deharts only received a phone call from kitty binck on friday nov 2 at 1:40pm asking if we had school could we work and that if we said no it woulnd;t be held against us, apparently that wasnt the case, some of us had plans already and couldnt change them, some of the children on my bus went on vacation to florida knowing school was closed. We work hard everyday to safely transport the children of west deptford and it isnt fair that the superintendent blames us for why school wasnt able to be had again after the calendar already said we were off. Someone on here said how about subsitutes do you really know how many drivers west deptford requires it is over 25 drivers. Please know we as drivers do all we can and always will but dont blame us for this one loretta frame bus driver at deharts
al henry November 06, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Well said Loretta,.. Just like Kitchenman to put the blame on someone else (isn't that what a bully does) he provided transportation the school calendar at the beginning of the year. Then at last minute he orders Kitty to twist the arm of Deharts,..doesn't get his way & blames transportation. His 2nd grade bully mentality doesn't shock me at all. Be very careful working under him as he and another administrator will no longer have you driving for their district even if the school board voted UNANIMOUSLY in your favor. Then gives you a totally unintelligible reason for his decision & will not return your attorneys pleas (phone calls or written) for a reasonable explanation. This "man" is a BULLY!!! Finally I do believe school should be in session Thurs & Fri with no transportation. See that was simple,...and I don't make $125,000+/yr & didn't lay blame on anyone.

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