With the decision to close Clarke County Public School offices for winter break, administrators may have received an unexpected holiday gift. But although Christmas may be the season for giving, one School Board member believes that such giving shouldn’t come at taxpayer expense.
Outgoing School Board member Robina Bouffault said on Friday that she was surprised to have received an automatic reply from an electronic e-mail message sent to Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy advising that both Clarke County Public Schools and administrative offices will be closed from Wednesday, December 22nd through January 2nd for winter break.
“Both winter break and spring break are student-teacher breaks,” Bouffault said “Teachers have 10 month contracts. Administrators, on the other hand, have 12 month contracts, and while teachers may be off, administrators are expected to work a portion of the time.”
Bouffault said that it is the School Board’s prerogative to determine specific holidays for employees.
“The Clarke County School Board has never authorized 12 month administrative employees to take the same holidays/breaks as 10 month employees,” Bouffault said.
Bouffault cited CCPS School Board Regulation 8-47R. “Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays also include one extra day, either before or after the holiday depending on the calendar year. In the event that Christmas or New Year’s day fall on a Saturday or Sunday, two week days are given. One day is also given in the spring during the student “spring break” week for a total of 13 Division holidays” Bouffault said. “The Clarke County School Board may authorize additional days off beyond those contained in the promulgated work calendars.”
“Nowhere in the our School Board policy are 12 month employees to receive the same number of holidays as 10 month employees,” said Bouffault
Bouffault said that Clarke County appears to be the only area school that has opted to close down its administrative offices for the holidays.
“Winchester Public Schools, Frederick Public Schools, and Loudoun Public Schools 12 month administrators are working Thursday Dec. 22 nd, and Wednesday, Thursday, Friday Dec. 28 th, 29 th, 30th” Bouffault said.
Dr. Murphy did not respond to an electronic mail message requesting details about the closure or whether administrative personnel will be required to use vacation leave to cover time off during the holiday shutdown. However, an automated reply on Saturday from Dr. Murphy’s email account stated:
“I am out of the office celebrating the wonderment of the holiday’s with friends and family. All schools and offices will be closed on Wednesday, December 22, 2011 through Monday, January 2, 2012, reopening on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. Have a wonderful winter break.”