On a night when the East Penn Board of School Directors voted to break the long-standing school district tradition of calling East Penn students back into the classroom after Labor Day, School Board Member Alan Earnshaw said he didn’t think the , with its Aug. 27 start, went far enough.
“It used to be the students needed to be out of school in the summer so they could help work on the farm and bring the crops in at harvest time,” Earnshaw said at Monday night’s East Penn School Board meeting, “but that only applies to a very limited number of our students who are working on family farms
“I personally would like to see us move to a more year-round schedule with two or three weeks off in the fall, two or three weeks off in the winter, and two or three weeks off in the spring. That way you wouldn’t have education evaporating during the summer months, as it does now.”
Earnshaw went on to list what he deems to be the many advantages of a year-round school schedule, including the opportunity for families to schedule vacation travel during off-peak times, saving money on air fare and hotels and not having to compete with the crowds in popular travel destinations.
“It would also nice to be able to go somewhere warmer when the weather is a little nastier here,” he said.
The only con Earnshaw acknowledged regarding a year-round public school schedule related to the impact it would have on the ability of older students to secure summer employment.
“There are students who do count on the summer time to earn money for college and with year-round school you wouldn’t have that,” he said. “This country is due to have a discussion on this topic. We need to bring what we are doing in line with what is done in other parts of the industrialized world.
“I don’t know that we will see that change in my lifetime or even in my grandchildren’s lifetime, but I certainly think it is something that needs to be done,” he said.
School board member Lynn Donches said she agrees with Earnshaw about the need to have conversation about a year-round school schedule.
The approved Monday night a 2012-2013 school district calendar with an Aug. 27, 2012 start date and an end date of June 10, 2013. The last day of school will be June 13, 2013 if the district uses all of its snow days next year.