Brentwood teachers keep vacations in deal

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The Brentwood Board of Education approved a memorandum of agreement between the Brentwood Teachers Association and the district last week that will allow teachers who can prove they previously had scheduled plans for February's midwinter vacation to take off from school.

The district canceled most of the break to make up days lost in the wake of superstorm Sandy. Superintendent Joe Bond said as many as 90 teachers had long ago booked vacations -- and in many cases, weddings -- during that week, and have requested they be allowed to keep those commitments.

The vacation falls Feb. 18-22, but Feb. 18 is Presidents Day, so students and teachers will still have that day off.

Bond said the board and teachers union agreed that if teachers could prove they had made nonrefundable flight, hotel or venue arrangements before Oct. 29, when the storm hit, they would be able to take the week off without penalty, using personal days. Bond will review those requests on a case-by-case basis, board president Helen Moss said.

In a district with more than 17,000 students and 17 schools, Bond said there are enough permanent substitute teachers to cover for teachers who are off.

Representatives from the Brentwood Teachers Association and the district did not return calls Friday seeking comment.

Brentwood is one of dozens of Long Island districts that have canceled four days of midwinter break to make up days lost to Sandy. State law requires that school be in session 180 days per year. Some schools have said that canceled vacations might be restored at the last minute if the state grants waivers from that requirement.

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