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BOE moves PSS austerity day to Monday

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AFTER a heated discussion on Tuesday, the Board of Education decided to follow the central government’s designation of Monday  as no-work day under Public Law 21-35 or the Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Act.

Although concerns were raised about the “confusion” that this may cause among parents and students, the board unanimously voted to revise the Public School System’s school year 2020-2021 schedule to reflect austerity Mondays.

The board in a meeting two weeks ago said PSS would observe austerity Fridays because it was already included in the school calendar, which began in September.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres signed the budget measure earlier this month.

During the special meeting on Tuesday, BOE member MaryLou S. Ada said if PSS would continue observing austerity Fridays, its officials and staff might have difficulties in conducting business on Mondays when the other government agencies are closed.

She said other government agencies would also have problems if they have important matters to communicate with education officials if PSS offices were closed on Fridays.

She said since Monday here is Sunday in the nation’s capital, PSS may not be able to communicate important matters with its federal grantors, until the next day.

BOE member Andrew Orsini said the board must be firm and consistent with its decisions because frequent changes will confuse  teachers, parents and “everyone in the community.”

Teacher representative Paul Miura said many teachers are upset with last-minute changes.

Board Chairwoman Janice Ada then asked the members to vote on the revised calendar.

All voted yes, but Orsini said, “In the future let’s be consistent with our decision.”

PSS austerity Monday begins on Nov. 2.

In an interview after the special board meeting, Education Commissioner Alfred B. Ada said he supports the BOE decision to move the austerity day on Mondays because it will give parents working in the government the opportunity to spend quality time at home with their children on Mondays.

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