, Salem, MA

Local News

July 16, 2013

Saltonstall year cut

School Committee votes 4-3 for 180-day schedule


“Don’t be the first school committee in the commonwealth to have the dubious distinction of using low MCAS scores to justify reducing school time,” parent Rick Johnson said to applause.

Others questioned whether the school board had a plan for how to use the $150,000 in savings.

“As far as I can tell ... what we are going to do tonight is weakening the district with no clear plan to strengthen anything else,” Geoff Millar said.

Of all the speakers, only one voiced support for ending the 190-day schedule.

While calling extended year a “great program,” Pam Ryan said the school system has “bigger problems, bigger fish to fry ... This isn’t about one group and one school. This is about the whole district.”

This controversy, which has simmered for years, first surfaced last year when Crane and Walsh, in a move that caught some colleagues by surprise, moved unsuccessfully to reduce Saltonstall’s calendar to 180 days.

The issue arose again this spring, but a vote was delayed until June. That vote, which occurred with Crane absent, resulted in a 3-3 deadlock, setting up last night’s showdown.

Tom Dalton can be reached at





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