Salt Lake City school teachers are steamed about the district snow day.
The Salt Lake City Board of Education voted this month to change the snow day from Saturday, June 5, to Monday, Dec. 21 - a day that had been designated for winter break. If no snow day is needed, school will not be held Friday, May 28, allowing for a long Memorial Day weekend.But some teachers who counted on the current district calendar made vacation plans and cannot get refunds for already purchased airline tickets, said Elaine Tzourt-zouklis, president of the Salt Lake Teachers Association.
"The phone has not stopped ringing at my office and home, and not one call has been in favor of this change," Tzourtzouklis told the school board Tuesday, evoking cheers and applause from about two dozen audience members.
Many teachers might take Dec. 21 off, leaving schools understaffed at a time when substitutes are scarce, said Bryant Intermediate teacher Geraldine Fitzgerald. "This will make it an unproductive day in a potentially unsafe atmosphere."
The snow day issue boiled last February when the third worst winter storm in Utah history dumped some 2 feet of snow during the morning commute. Still, schools did not close, infuriating parents and resulting in a stream of angry phone calls to district offices.
The June 5 snow day, in place for two years following an overwhelming school community vote, was questioned by parents concerned that holding school on a Saturday on the cusp of summer would be unproductive and that the Saturdays are the Sabbath in some religions.
A committee of teachers and parents then voted to bump Career Ladder day from Feb. 16 to Feb. 15, which is Presidents Day, and conduct class Feb. 16. If a snow day was not needed, schools could decide to end the school year early or have no school Friday, May 28.
But that arrangement also interfered in teachers' already made travel plans, Tzourtzouklis said.
The school board did not respond to comments, which is routine during the public comment period.