Utica school’s late decision to extend holiday break leaves parents scrambling to change plans

Some families happy with decision to extend break

The Utica school district extended holiday break by two days last minute.

UTICA, Mich. – The recent announcement from the Utica Community Schools to extend Christmas break had a lot of people talking Wednesday.

The announcement states that students will be off for winter break beginning Monday, Dec. 23 and returning to school on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. This provides an additional two recess days Thursday, Jan. 2 and Friday, Jan. 3.

Kevin Clark has three kids. Two of them are in school. He agrees with the district and believes his children should be able to enjoy a longer Christmas break.

“Now that they made the switch, we’re happy they’re both on the same schedule. We like spending as much time with our kids as we can. We like that schedule better. Now, we understand there are those parents who can’t make that adjustment, as quickly as we can, “ Clark said.

Another Local 4 viewer shared her opinion on our Facebook page. It says in part, “So you change the calendar weeks before Christmas break. What about the parents that work and thought their kids would be in school on January 2 and 3? Now they have to scramble to find childcare for them.”

A spokesperson for Utica Schools released this statement:

“UCS continues to bargain in good faith with its teachers’ association. As such, the calendar is part of this process. Working collaboratively, we mutually agreed to another component of the district calendar.

An important factor that impacts the school calendar is a change in state law related to professional development days. We have submitted our plan to the state to address these changes and are awaiting final approval.”

Statement from Liza Parkinson - President, Utica Education Association:

“The Utica Education Association shares and empathizes with the frustration being experienced by parent community in Utica Community Schools regarding the school district’s late request to extend the holiday break two days (January 2 and 3) through January 6, 2020. While we continue to bargain with UCS for a contract that still has not been settled, UEA did receive a request from UCS at the end of last week regarding the two-day holiday break extension and signed it as soon as possible, on Monday of this week, so that parents could be notified. This was not a calendar change we recommended and one that the district asked us to approve. This is another example of the community suffering from the continued dysfunction of the UCS Board Office leadership and why the UEA filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against the Utica Community School District (UCS) for multiple violations of the Michigan Public Employment Relations Act on November 4.”