The district wanted to use the time to clear out the classrooms, Leary said. But some parents balked, saying six days was too short a notice to make alternative plans for child care.
Tuesday night, the school board split on a vote to accommodate the construction company's request, effectively sinking Leary's recommendation. The children will stay in class through next Thursday, as will the district's students.
The news came as a relief to some working parents.
``We were pleased the school board listened to our concerns,'' said Cynthia Kreilick, co-president of the Enfield Parent Teachers Association.
After two years in the development stage, the district approved plans this year for a $5.5 million renovation of the 50-year-old Enfield School. Work started in April. Much of the heavy construction, including asbestos removal in some areas, will take place this summer, Leary said.
``I thought [ending classes early] was a reasonable idea, but parents felt otherwise,'' Leary said yesterday. ``And as a superintendent, you learn to be flexible.''
Though the last three days of school will be only half-days, some parents at the Tuesday night board meeting said receiving short notice about closing early had left them scrambling for help. The district offered no alternative child-care plans for working parents, officials said.
Still, Leary said, claims by some working parents that the district was being insensitive to their needs were unfounded. He cited before- and after-school day-care programs already in place and flexible hours for parent conferences.
``That criticism is unfounded and unfair,'' he said. ``We are user-friendly.''