A hot topic: Class in August

Our headline last week asked, "Is Au­gust too hot for school?"

Well, to quote a line from the old "Bob Newhart Show": "Yes, well, maybe."

Yes, because August is hot, and there are some days, even close to Labor Day, when it’s really terribly hot, what some might call "too hot."

The problem is, though, that there are some days even after Labor Day that are pretty darn hot, what some might call "too hot." So, what’s a school board to do?

Well, one thing you can bet the Mil­ford School Board isn’t going to propose is a total air-conditioning of the town’s schools, if for no other reason than voters would shoot that down in a heartbeat.

But what about this so-called "hours-based" calendar that Amherst and Mont Vernon schools use, which allowed them to start school on Sept. 8, which means their students missed most of our bad heat wave? Milford went back to school on Aug. 28. That’s quite a difference in terms of days.

The hours-based calendar mandates longer school days but fewer actual days in school, thus a shorter school year. It was used in Milford, we recall, after the ice storm of 2008 so that the district wouldn’t have to forego school vacations. It seemed to work.

Would it work for an entire year in Mil­ford? Probably. Are there issues miti­gating against it? We don’t know, but the School Board certainly would, and they were planning to discuss it at an upcom­ing meeting, but with no thought of taking any action yet, if ever.

This came up in Milford because of a concerned mom, Carla Boudreau, who told the board, "There is not a lot of edu­cation going on in these 90degree days." We agree. It’s hard to work, hard to learn and certainly hard to teach when you’re dripping with sweat.

An exaggeration, you say? Not accord­ing to School Board member Bob Willette, who said at the last board meeting, "My son is a substitute teacher, and he came home soaking wet." We suspect that was true of many teachers and many students.

Well, it’s good to know the board is tak­ing a look at the issue and it’s good to know that folks like Carla Boudreau feel free to speak out about such things. That’s how ideas get discussed, and that’s how things can (well, might) change.