UCS schedule change prolongs holiday break

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 17, 2019

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STERLING HEIGHTS — Utica Community Schools students and staff may spend a few more days practicing their New Year’s resolutions before heading back to class, thanks to a sudden alteration to the school year calendar.

As part of a scheduling change, UCS’s winter break has been extended. Break will begin Dec. 23, and — instead of returning to class Jan. 2 — students will return Jan. 6.

According to UCS, the scheduling change resulted from a recent agreement between the district and the Utica Education Association teachers union. UCS spokesman Tim McAvoy commented on the scheduling tweaks.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

In a statement, Utica Education Association President Liza Parkinson said the UEA “shares and empathizes with” parents’ frustration over the short-notice extension.

“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,” she said.

“This was not a calendar change we recommended and one that the district asked us to approve.”

Twitter users largely reacted to the school district’s vacation extension with student celebration and memes.

See the latest UCS calendar by visiting http://bit.ly/2LXGcvb or call the district at (586) 797-1000 to learn more.