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Radical Plan To Save Failing Westchester Schools Includes Longer Days, Year

YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Summer is getting shorter for some students in Westchester County's largest school district.

It's part of an extreme plan to save three failing schools. Students may be surprised to learn their vacations are now at risk.

It's happening at three troubled elementary schools in Yonkers that won a $13.5 million state education grant for a complete overhaul, including a longer school day and longer school year, CBS 2's Lou Young reported.

"The year will end on July 31st," said Amanda Curley, an executive director at Yonkers Public Schools.

News of the changes came down while the students were on spring break. When they come back, they will find out that a lot will change next year.

There will be significant personnel changes among teachers and principals at the school in addition to a longer school day and a surprising announcement that summer vacation next year will be cut in half.

"We're not an agrarian society anymore. We don't have to farm. We should be going to school over the summer. We should be learning all year-round," said Yonkers Council President Chuck Lesnmick.

The change affects 1,500 kindergarten through 12th grade students at Yonkers School 13, Martin Luther King Elementary, and the Enrico Fermi School.

Classes will start at 7:30 and run a full 8 hours to 3:30.

Parents in love with the longer vacation can request transfers.

The school district, though, expects to be flooded with applications for schools with the beefed up learning schedule.

The school improvement grant is funded by the federal government, but awarded through the state Department of Education. Schools in Poughkeepsie and four upstate cities also got the extra help.

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