Teachers at school closed for asbestos to keep spring break

Mike DeNardo
February 28, 2020 - 1:33 pm
achers at McClure Elementary School stand as the school board considers having them make up asbestos days over spring break.

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It looks like teachers at a Philadelphia school that was closed for asbestos clean-up will be keeping their spring break. The district wanted to make up lost instructional days over spring break, but the school board Thursday night rejected that plan.

Students at McClure Elementary in Hunting Park lost 15 days of instructional time when the school was closed twice for asbestos removal in December and January. The district proposed canceling spring break at McClure to make up some of those days, but teacher Monica Ricci told the school board, "No way." 

"This is not our fault. We were willing to report and relocate for three weeks," Ricci said.

Third-grade teacher Rachel Boschen said there's got to be a better option.

"While I wholeheartedly agree that our students deserve this instruction, I do not believe that the teachers and staff of McClure should be punished by being forced to work over our scheduled spring break," Boschen said.

The teachers found an ally in school board Vice President Wayne Walker, who said, "It just seems to me that it's a hardship created by the district."

The board voted 5-3 against having the teachers work over spring break. 

"Because the action was voted down, we have to come up with a different solution," Superintendent William Hite said. 

It's likely the options include tacking days onto the end of the school year.

"Naturally, we'll go back and talk with the staff at McClure. We need to talk to the families at McClure and determine what's the best course of action."

Students at other schools with asbestos were relocated to other sites to limit lost time — but alternate sites were never made available for McClure.