FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Vacation plans have been put on hold for many families in one New Jersey community after the Board of Education cut spring break in half at the last minute.

Parents are blaming it on a battle between the Fort Lee Board of Education and the teachers’ union that resulted in the board unanimously approving the decision to slash spring break Monday night.

Instead of six school days off for their break next month, students are left with just three.

The Murinigoo triplets had spring break plans of spending time on the boardwalk in Atlantic City but the 8-year-olds’ vacation is now cancelled.

“I took vacation that week from work so I could could be with them so it’s a little messed up,” their father, Louis Murinigoo, said.

“I think it’s absurd how can you spring this on the parents especially a week, two weeks before spring break when everybody has the vacation planned, even for the teachers it’s just wrong,” said Harry Sham.

According to the district’s website, teachers within the district are paid to work 183 days per school year but only work 180.

After the teachers filed a grievance, the board of education said they asked the teachers to work the extra days as professional development days so students could keep their days off, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.

The union refused the offer, according to the board.

Richard Locke with the New Jersey Education Association said the shortened spring break is retaliation for contentious contract talks, 1010 WINS’ Derricke Dennis reported. Teachers in Fort Lee have been working on an expired contract for nearly two years.

Parent Teacher Association President Evelyn Tsugranis said the Board of Education is using the students as pawns.

“They manipulated the children to make the teachers come back to work,” Tsugranis said. “It’s not fair to use our children in the process to get what they want.”

“So you really think this is all about contract negotiations?” Burrell asked Tsugranis.

“It’s exactly what it’s about,” Tsugranis responded.

Many students are upset.

“I feel like we’re caught in the middle,” one student said.

“We’re just collateral damage for their dispute,” said another student, who was planning to use spring break to go to California and look at colleges. “I’m not showing up because we already had a planned vacation which is what’s going to happen to a lot of people.”

CBS2 is awaiting a response from the Fort Lee superintendent.

The NJEA is threatening legal action.

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