School Board Member Questions Christmas Closure

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.”



  1. just the facts..PLEASE says:

    SWEET………an extra week of vacation at taxpayers expense!!!


    Oh thats right…….. I am a TAXPAYER… all I got was a tax bill!

  2. Tom Witmark says:

    Actually…per the FCPS website, the admin offices will not be open on Friday, 12/30. Seriously, RRB, get over yourself and stop trying to find any reason (Scrooge-ian or otherwise) to belittle and demean the superintendent. You only continue to look petty and small-minded and unpleasant.

    • Why don’t YOU get with reality Tommy! If every government gave off their employees, our whole community would pay for it! Granted our teachers don’t make what they’d like, but they lay their own bed…..summers off, not to mention Christmas and Springbreak!! Oh yeah, sick leave! A lot of people would be very happy to have a gov’t job. Why should we give every county employee the same benefits as teachers?

      • Teachers get sick leave AND Christmas off? Oh, the humanity!!

        • In-the-Know says:

          Teachers have 200 days when they are under contract; 180 of these are teaching days, and the other 20 are work days, in-services, preparing for the new school year or closing out the old one, or whatever the Board and superintendent deem necessary to fulfull their contracts. So, in reality, they do NOT get Christmas off. Those are non-contract days. Try it, JP, and see how long you’d last!!

          • I have been “trying it” for about 19 years now and have lasted quite well, thank you. Turn on your sarcasm detector, “In the know”. I was commenting on “huhs” message that implies that teachers somehow have it easy and only work when they’re physically in their buildings. In fact, I’m looking at a pile of 130 final exams that need to be corrected in the next week on my many “days off”. Care to help?

          • Second that! says:

            I agree! I would be willing to bet that teachers take their work home with them more than any other profession! And those shrinking summer months actually give us time for ourselves and our family.

          • In-the-Know says:

            My bad! Been there, done that, for far too long!!

  3. Christmas spirit says:

    Praying for lonely souls out there. God Bless us, everyone.

  4. Certainly hope Dr. Murphy clarifies this “unexpected holiday gift” for the administrative offices.
    Ms Bouffault may not be a favorite to some but I appreciate her call on this situation.
    CDN – Hope there is a followup on this story!

  5. If Dr. Murphy decided to benevolently grant administrative employees three days of extra holiday against written school policy then he should personally re-imburse the county for this gift … and not expect those of us (taxpayers) who are on their way to work on Tuesday morning to pay for it.

  6. foryourinfo says:

    Mrs Bouffault,
    Please check your facts on when and if school administration is working this holiday break. I would hope that you would send in a retraction/correction to your misleading information. Also, your information regarding LCPS schedule and their days/time off is incorrect. Please correct as well.

    I’m sure that our CC administration would love to just only work their contracted days and hours since I know for a fact that many of these employees work weekends/holidays/ and hours way beyond their “contracted” time. That goes for teachers as well. Why don’t you thank them for their hard work and service instead of misrepresenting facts during this holiday season!

    • For your info:

      I always check my facts.

      The information concerning the shut-down of Clarke County administrative offices came from the Superintendent’s “automatic reply” e-mail response. Today when passing by the SBO, there was no one there.

      The information concerning Loudoun County’s administrative leave came from their website, where the calendar is specific concerning both Student-Teacher holidays, vs. administrative holidays.

      Our school administrators have well-defined 12 month contracts, with PAID annual leave (up to 22 working days), sick leave (12 days) and salaries that are anywhere between two and three times average teachers’ salaries. Teachers have 10 month contracts, with no annual leave included – just holidays (13) and Christmas and spring breaks.

      SB office administrative total compensation (with benefits) varies between $85k and $175k, whereas the maximum teachers’ total compensation for ten months tops out at $84k (top of the teacher scale).

      I have full detailed information concerning the above if anyone would care to receive it. Please e-mail me at with your questions concerning any of the above.


      • Well…the email address you post will not be valid as of next week, so that makes that a moot point. Again, you come across as one desperately trying any way to slander the current super. It’s what you did for the former one, too.

        • Hmmm …

          You are quite correct, that e-mail will no longer be functional next week – so please e-mail me at my personal e-mail: where I will be quite happy to provide you with any supporting documentation you may wish to see.

          Of course, this would mean that you would have to divulge your own e-mail address, so I somehow don’t think that I will hear from you.


  7. Robina, Why should we email you? Your quick to throw out all this infromation at in the public and now you want us to just email you? Come on lady. Go find somthing to do,

  8. Exactly! Why would we email you? Everyone has been waiting for you to get of office and this is coming in the near future. I think the consensus of most is that we are glad that we will no longer have to deal with your shortcomings and obnoxious propaganda.

  9. Robina,

    Continue to post the facts. You (and the naysayers on here) know all too well that you have a lot of support and a lot of citizens that appreciate your direct approach. You make them all nervous because some people can’t handle a strong women!

  10. Clarke Life says:

    No, it has nothing to do with her being a Woman. It has everything to do with being in the lime-light and your approach to doing things. From everyone I that I speak to in regards to Dr. Murphy, they all think the world of this man. He is doing a great job here at Clarke County and he has the support of the teachers and employees that make up CCPS. For some reason Robina you always have to bring negativity to our community and embarrass yourself in the process of doing it. You may have a few followers that think you are Golden, but truth be told, your enemies list is a mile long. Can you please just fade away and let your legacy speak for itself? I think you owe it to Clarke County! We have put up with your foolishness for far too long and cannot wait for the end of your term…….

    And to Dr. Murphy,
    Thank you for being the leader you are, and know that you have the support of many here in this community and don’t let Robina run you out of Clarke!!!! Keep up the great work!

  11. 2 votes does not a mandate make. Nor did the pitiful attempt to stoke up a write-in effort work. She’s had her time, she’s left her mark (and what a negative legacy it will be), and she’ll go back to her secretive emails to “Certain Clarke Countians” and become queen of the FOIA once again…just as she did with the last administration. Sad that she chooses to use her considerable free time and money in such a negative way.

  12. Stop focusing on Robina. Start focusing on the issues. It seems that Dr. Murphy is getting more and more full of himself. Too bad the taxpayers can’t grant the poor teachers the generous leave that he gave administrators, without authority to do so. I’d rather my money go to teachers raises or kids books!