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Bedford School District Ponders Making Up 'Storm Days'

It is still to be determined how the Bedford Central School District will deal with school days lost during Hurricane Sandy.
It is still to be determined how the Bedford Central School District will deal with school days lost during Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Liz Button

BEDFORD, N.Y. — After two weeks of turmoil wrought by Hurricane Sandy, the pace of life in the Bedford Central School District has settled to a relatively normal clip, but Superintendent Jere Hochman said the district does not yet know how the canceled school days will affect the school calendar .

All five elementary schools returned to class on Nov. 5 after a five-day hiatus, and Fox Lane Middle and High School students returned on Nov. 7. That day’s nor’easter caused a two-hour school delay the next morning.

At Wednesday's Board of Education meeting, Hochman gave an overview of the hurricane from the district's perspective.

"The last two weeks have been pretty much a blur,” he said. “I think by now the majority of families in our community have power back."

Mark Betz, assistant superintendent for business, said some changes to the school calendar are being made: The middle and high school will now be in session for a half-day on Dec. 7, a day that had been reserved for parent conferences. After the changes, two snow days still will be available, but it does not help that a bad winter is forecast, Betz said.

Currently, the days available on the school calendar that are scheduled to be vacations are Feb. 18 and 19; and March 25 through 29 and April 1, but it is not likely Feb. 18, President's Day, would be used. The school calendar identifies April 1 and March 25, 26 and 27 as makeup days, in that order, if needed.

“We would not likely be cutting into the summer break unless we had a ton of snow days this winter,” Betz said after Wednesday's meeting. Discussions on the calendar will continue in the coming weeks. he said.

While it is too soon to know what will happen with these days, Hochman said he had heard that 250 out of 700 school districts were affected by the storm in some way. Many of the districts, he said, are appealing to the state education commissioner's office about an emergency calendar.

Hochman said that during the storm, he and Thomas Briggs, the director of buildings and grounds, worked at the Town of Bedford’s command center. "It was so helpful to have all the folks who needed to communicate in one room," Hochman said.

It was because of the persistence of district officials in dealing with utility company representatives that the elementary schools got power back when they did, he said.

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