Sunday Leftovers: Special Sandy Edition

NJ School Boards Association President John Bulina alerted NJ board members that some of our schools “are situated in communities devastated by tidal surges, floods and damaging winds. There is a strong possibility that they will be unusable as educational facilities for quite some time. Classroom supplies and equipment may also have been destroyed.”

The Record recaps that “Sandy shut down almost every one [of Jersey’s schools] all week, cut off communication among administrators and left thousands of parents wondering when their children would finally get back to class…The state Education Department reported late Friday that [only!] 251 of 589 districts had confirmed plans to open Monday.”

For example, in Moonachie, which has one K-8 school for 280 kids, the superintendent said that the school would be closed all week “and she was considering setting up trailers for the children or sending them to alternative schools. She was also consulting with state officials about what to do. “The situation is fluid right now,” she said.”

Everyone covered the NJEA's decision to cancel its annual convention, scheduled for this Thursday and Friday in Sandy-ravaged Atlantic City -- the first time that's happened in 158 years. Immediate thought from districts: Can we hold school on those days and recover two days of instruction? Momentum increased when NJEA released a  statement that seemed to condone overriding state statute as it has historically been interpreted:
This is a unique situation not necessarily contemplated by either the statute or contractual language dealing with the NJEA convention. We strongly urge all districts and local associations to work cooperatively in order to best use those two days for the benefit of students, their families and district employees.

Many journalists noted that both both Gov. Christie and Comm. Cerf were encouraging districts, if physically possible, to revise calendars and open schools on Thursday and Friday. Here’s coverage from NJ Spotlight, The Record, The Star-Ledger, CourierPost, and Asbury Park Press, the Press of Atlantic City, and the Washington Post.