HOBOKEN -- The Hoboken Charter School students had already missed more than a week of school when Hurricane Sandy hit the area.
In September, the public school suffered a fire at its building at 713 Washington St. on the second day of school. The fire displaced the K-8 program. The building has still not been repaired. More than a week after the fire, the school moved to interim space at St. Anne’s School in Jersey City Heights.
But the move, in some ways, helped them deal better with the hurricane. Unlike in flood-prone Hoboken, the building up in the Heights did not fare as poorly.
Down in Hoboken, most public school students missed eight days of school. But Hoboken Charter resumed classes this past Monday.
Still, Hoboken Charter has many days to make up. The school also has a 9-12 program in a building in Hoboken, and that program must make up the days they missed because of the hurricane.
According to charter school Principal Deidre Grode, efforts are being made to eliminate some of the scheduled breaks in the middle of the year, rather than tacking the extra days on to the end.
In New Jersey, public schools must be open for at least 180 days each year. Often, schools budget for two or three snow days. Days beyond that are often made up at the end of the year.
Recently, Gov. Chris Christie said he would not waive the 180-day requirement this year. The state's teachers' union, which normally holds a two-day convention in late November, said they would cancel it this year so that students could attend two more days of school.
Still, many school districts are scrambling to figure out how to make up the rest of the days without keeping students at their desks until next July.
“We have heard talks of schools possibly becoming exempt from the 180-day requirement,” Grode said, “but our kids deserve 180 days.”