Students and parents in Hinsdale High School District 86 are signing an online petition asking that the school year not be extended until June 12.
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 735 people had signed the petition posted by Hinsdale Central junior Melissa Vranicar on the website, www.change.org.
At a Committee of the Whole meeting March 3, the District 86 School Board discussed options for making up the four school days in January when Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South, and many other school districts, were closed due to subzero temperatures and snow.
Superintendent Bruce Law said the best option appeared to be adding four extra days at the end of the school year. Instead of the last day being June 6, it would be June 12.
One board member already had heard from parents who said they had made plans for those days and hoped the district could find other times to make up the lost days, such as on days that are scheduled for late starts or early dismissals.
Now families themselves are speaking up on why they don’t want four extra school days in June.
Michelle Vranicar explained her daughter, Melissa, along with 30 other juniors are scheduled to lead District 181 middle school students to Wylde Life Camp in Castaway Club in Minnesota.
“The travel dates are set for June 9 through June 15 and over 100 middle school students are already signed up to attend,” Michelle Vranicar said. “The dates are not flexible. If the students are required to attend school until June 12, the camp coordinators will have to make adjustments and the 30 junior students will lose out on a very valuable leadership opportunity.”
In her petition, Melissa Vranicar wrote two of the days missed were in first semester and those finals have already been taken.
“If the extra days were to be added on, they would be added to fourth quarter,” she said. “This would not benefit the students because we have already made up the work and most likely would spend these extra days not doing things that would enhance our learning.”
Vranicar said if the four days are not made up, district officials should not think they are paying the faculty for days they did not work.
“These teachers don’t just work while they’re at school teaching us. They spend multiple hours outside of school grading work or coming up with lesson plans, and they aren’t paid for these hours,” Melissa Vranicar wrote.
A parent from Clarendon Hills wrote on the online petition that their family has an overseas flight June 7 to celebrate two family members’ 70th birthdays.
Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 made up one day on Presidents Day, Feb. 17, which originally was planned as a teacher institute day. The District 181 School Board has yet to decide how it will handle the other missed days.
Butler Elementary District 53 in Oak Brook, Burr Ridge Elementary District 180, and Maercker Elementary District 60 all added four days to the end of their school year, but even so, their last day of school will be June 5 or earlier.
Kathy Saylor, Hinsdale South librarian and Hinsdale High School Teachers Association president at South, said she and the union president at Central, John Bowman, are planning to meet with Law Wednesday to discuss the issue.
Last week, Saylor said she and Bowman previously had met with Law “hoping we could find a way to get instructional days back, especially with AP classes in mind.
“Losing four days could put our students at a disadvantage potentially,” Saylor said. “However, when we considered the options, knowing that it would be difficult to put days back in during spring break, and also recognizing that there was a cost involved with using Presidents Day, we accepted Bruce’s decision to add the days in June.”