Millburn, NJ, Schools Debate Whether To Add 2 Holidays To Calendar

MILLBURN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There is a debate in Essex County, New Jersey, about whether to add two holidays to the school calendar.

The Lunar New Year is in February and is celebrated by Asians across the world. Diwali, in just two weeks, is a major Hindu holiday, known as the festival of lights.

For the first time, students in Millburn may get two days off next year for those holidays, CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported.

“I think that would be a great idea because we have a lot of Indian kids here,” said Neera Sharma, who celebrates Diwali with her grandchildren. “We feel it is a very good idea to celebrate Diwali in the school.”

According to the state Department of Education, the students at Millburn’s middle school and high school are more than 20 percent Asian and jumps to 30 percent in the elementary schools.

Pam Solomon, a parent, says it’s time to add these holidays.

“I think it’s wonderful that we’re appreciating the diversity in the town and respecting one another and giving every family an opportunity to celebrate,” she said.

The Board of Education is considering school calendars for the next three years. If they add the two holidays, the school year would start before Labor Day and still end in late June.

“I personally think that school should start after Labor Day,” said Karen Jacob, a mother. “I like the idea of having our family vacation time at the end of August because of three kids with three different schedules and sports and camps and all of that.”

Jill Sirota, who has a son in Millburn High School, said there has to be another way.

“I understand, and I have no problem with the holidays being added, but then somehow find a way to rework the calendar,” she said. “I don’t know, maybe if you want to shorten one February break or one spring break.”

CBS2 reached out to the schools superintendent and the Board of Education. Neither would comment on camera.

The board will meet Monday to talk more about the school calendars and to hear from the public.

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