Education chief: Expect extended school year if teachers keep staying home
By The Star Staff
Education Secretary Eliezer Ramos Parés said Tuesday that if teachers continue to be absent in protest of the recently approved Debt Adjustment Plan, the school calendar will be extended until June 10.
“Without a doubt, we would have less summer. The reality is that we are talking about school days, so a missed day could lead to the extension of an additional day and a week for a week,” the education secretary said in a radio interview. “And if we continue to extend it, in all likelihood we would be entering what could be our most valued days to go to the beach.”
Ramos Parés said the school calendar was scheduled to end on June 2, but with the possible extensions it could reach June 10.
“I would tell you that the behavior of this week is going to be key,” he said. “The reality is that we are already tight in terms of days; we already had many interruptions last semester that absorbed the grace time, so what happens this week is going to be key in determining whether or not the semester is extended.”
The Education secretary attributed the possible determination to the fact that federal funds may be lost if the school calendar is not completed.
On Monday, about 4,000 teachers did not show up for work. The absences are being attributed to a protest promoted by the Puerto Rico Teachers Federation in repudiation of the Debt Adjustment Plan.
On Tuesday, absenteeism increased to 20% for teachers, 16% for other instructors, 9% for non-teaching personnel and 9% for principals.
“We continue prioritizing the education of our students,” read the message posted on the Education Department’s Twitter account.