Benicia Students Expected in Class on November 1

The need for more instruction before the end of the first semester and a desire to start school later means students will be in school instead of sleeping in on the day after Halloween.

For the first time in many years, Benicia Unified School District students will students will spend the day after Halloween in class instead of at home recuperating after a tough night of collecting treats and committing tricks.  

According to Carleen Maselli, president of the Benicia Teachers Association, the change is a compromise between high school teachers who generally want to start the school year earlier so first semester finals are taken before winter break and elementary school teachers who want to start later allowing maximum time for young students to mature before beginning school. 

In an email Maselli wrote, “Yes, a very strong majority of teachers at all levels voted to ratify the calendar and approximately 70% of teachers overall wanted to start school later rather than earlier when surveyed before a calendar was negotiated.  However, high school survey results concerning the start date showed about 56% of the teachers wanting to start earlier for educational reasons ( August 15th opposed to August 22nd) with over 95% of the high school staff completing that survey.” 

Students receive 180 days of instruction and starting earlier in August would have resulted in school ending in May. Assistant Superintendent Michael Gardner said surveys done before calendar negotiations helped guide the conversation.  “”It was overwhelmingly in support of starting school later and ending school later,” said Gardner. 

In past years the day after Halloween has been used by teachers as a scheduled staff development day.  After state funding cuts reduced the number of staff development days, the day after Halloween was used as a furlough day. 

Elementary school teachers were the biggest supporters of keeping kids home on November 1 because they felt students were often too tired to learn after being out late on Halloween night.  

Another factor that came into play was the desire of everyone to take the whole week of Thanksgiving off. 

Last year, during the 2011-2012 school year, an unscientific poll conducted by Benicia Patch showed 75 percent of those voting preferred to continue to keep kids home the day after Halloween.

What do you think of the change in this long-standing tradition in Benicia schools?  Tell us in comments.

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If there’s something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor JB Davis at 707-628-0051 or email him at benicia@patch.com.

Robert Livesay November 02, 2012 at 08:22 PM
I am for public safety retirement formula. I have no problem with their retirement. I have stated that in the past. Riley originally you said yearly pension. Now you are changing it to total compensation. In 2010 his last full year his total cost to the city was $224,547. His last year 2011 was a partial year and his total cost to the city was $176.928. That icludes all his vaction, sick leave etc when he left the city. So as you can see it never was $270,000. His retire pay is as stated and has no healthcare benefit. . Riley you made a statement on a per year retirement that was wrong. I do not care where you got the info. If I saw that in in the paper I would have asked for a correction or an entire explanation of the $270,000.
Robert Livesay November 02, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Riley i am not trying to one up you. Opinions are opinions. Statements stated as fast are different. People reading something that appears to be a fact can easily be convinced it is a fact and jump to the wrong conclusion. Riley I do not appreciate your comments about me. Correct me if I am wrong but lay off the not so nice negative comments about me. Again Riley I was not trying to put you down. If it sounded that way I apologize for the tone..
Robert Livesay November 02, 2012 at 08:46 PM
should be fact not fast
Riley Willerson November 03, 2012 at 06:04 AM
Fair enough Robert, point taken,
Riley Willerson November 03, 2012 at 10:38 PM
When it comes down to it Robert, I sound pretty judgmental myself. anyway, you are not the only person who keeps people looking at the patch, we all have are bias for this person or that person. So, keep on fact checking and putting it out there, free speech, a good thing to keep.


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