In August, the start to the school year was delayed by three days due to a water system problem that made the school’s water unusable. As it stood before Monday evening’s meeting, there was to be no school on December 22 and the school year for both students and teachers was to end on June 15.
Initially, principal Matt Martyn recommended that December 22 become a half day for students and that the staff’s year be extended by two days in June, letting two student days go. In that scenario, the school would have had 178 student days, which although it is three above the state-mandated 175 student days, falls short of the Dover School’s typical 180.
Vice chair Laura Sibilia said she was “loath to lose three student days,” and chair Rich Werner noted that the current schedule also does not take any snow days into account.
“So Matt may be back here in a few weeks saying he needs to add days because of snow days,” said Werner.
Martyn said that two staff members had mentioned conflicts with December 22 due to travel plans they made based on the current schedule. Per their contracts, staff members aren’t allowed to take a personal day the day after or the day before a school break.
Board member Jolene Mahon suggested that perhaps due to the unforeseen circumstance, an exception should be made and the teachers should get subs for the day.
Werner asked Martyn to get a better sense of the staff members’ commitments and how unmovable they were.
The board ultimately decided to amend the current schedule to make December 21, previously a half day, a full day, December 22 a full day, and to extend the school year to June 19. However, board members noted that the matter will be revisited midwinter once the board has a better picture of how many snow days are necessary.
In other matters, Martyn and Werner provided opposing hopes for a hallway that connects the school to a soon-to-be-removed defunct modular unit, with Martyn proposing a storage space and Werner proposing the addition be removed. The hallway extends beyond what was historically an exterior entrance.
“It used to be inviting and provide natural sunlight,” said Werner. “I’d like to see it restored to its original form.”
The board asked Martyn to create detailed proposals on what it would take to use the space for storage as he had hoped as well as what it would take to restore the space to its original state as Werner had hoped.
Sibilia requested that in his analysis of the latter, Martyn include cost projections for a tenable long-term storage solution other than the hallway.