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Nashua Teachers' Union rejects proposal to extend school day by 14 minutes

Union Leader Correspondent

February 02. 2018 8:54PM

NASHUA — The Nashua Teachers’ Union has rejected a proposal that would have extended the school day in an effort to make up for some missed school days due to snow.

The superintendent and Nashua Board of Education were recommending that 14 minutes be added to the school day starting Monday — with seven minutes added to the beginning of the day and seven minutes added to the end of the day.

On Thursday, 1,600 members consisting of four units within the union — teachers, secretaries, paraeducators and food service workers — voted on the proposal.

“If one of those units says ‘no,’ that they don’t want to do this, none of this happens — it all goes away,” said Adam Marcoux, president of the Nashua Teachers’ Union.

Three out of the four units of the union supported the extended day, however one of the units rejected the proposal, meaning the day will not be extended. However, it does still leave the door open for school officials to present a different alternative to the teachers’ union for consideration, if they desire.

“No matter what decision we make, someone is going to be unhappy,” Raymond Guarino, school board member, said earlier this week.

If the proposal had been accepted by the union, the extended day would have allowed the district to make up three of its five snow days — although more snow days are still possible this year depending on the weather.

Initially, the last day of school was set for June 13, however with the five snow days the new, tentative last day of school will be June 20. If the extended day proposal had been supported by the union, the last day of school would have been Friday, June 15.

“There is no easy way to get around this. It is likely, I hope I am terribly wrong, that there is going to be another snow day,” said Superintendent Jahmal Mosley, adding it is difficult to try and make up snow days.

He stressed that many classrooms do not have air conditioning, adding it is challenging to conduct class during the end of June when the weather is warm.

Last year, the school district opted to add 14 minutes to the end of the day to help make up some of the missed snow days, however that change did not take place until March.

“We did, much to my chagrin, pay people for doing nothing,” said Dan Donovan, chief operating officer with the district. Donovan explained that many of the district’s hourly employees were paid for two days that they did not work last year because of contract obligations conflicting with the extended hours.

Still, he said that would not have occurred this year if the extended day started in February rather than March.

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