Is August too hot for school

MILFORD – A mother who said her son came home from school dehy­drated during the heat wave asked the Milford School Board last week to change from a days-based to an hours-based calendar. With an hours-based calendar there can be fewer school days at the beginning and end of the school year when the weather is more likely to be hot.

"It’s crazy sitting in these classrooms with just fans," said Carla Bou­dreau at the board’s meet­ing last week. "There is not a lot of education go­ing on in these 90-degree days," especially on the second floors of Heron Pond Elementary and the middle school, she said.

Boudreau said more air conditioning would be ex­pensive, but changing the calendar year would not be.

The state Department of Education now allows dis­tricts to adopt an hours-based calendar instead of the traditional 180-day calendar.

Milford uses the 180- day calendar and schools started early, on Aug. 26. The following week out­door temperatures were pushing 90.

Amherst and Mont Ver­non schools did not go back until more than a week later, on Sept. 8, which means they missed most of the heat wave. SAU 39’s calendar is hours based, allowing for longer school days and a shorter school year.

Milford Superintendent of Schools Robert Mar­quis said there was no question that there was some disruption of educa­tion during the heat wave, and everyone was doing as much as they could to bring relief, with children and staff invited to use air-conditioned cafeterias and libraries.

"I spent a lot of time over the weekend think­ing about the heat … and a lot of time talking to administrators, nurses and walking through the buildings, he said.

After Boudreau asked school board members if they had been in the schools last week, Rob­ert Willette said he didn’t have to. "My son is a sub­stitute teacher and he came home soaking wet."

Marquis said he will have an itemized list of capital improvements for the next board meeting, but no one at the meeting seemed to think that vot­ers would approve funds to fully air condition the schools.

And board members in­dicated that changing the school calendar would probably not be a priority.

The subject of the school calendar will be on the agenda for the next school board meeting, Chairman Paul Dargie said later in an email. "No action will be taken at that meeting – it will just be a discussion of what will be done on the sub­ject prior to the setting of the calendar for the next year, if anything."