• Tuesday , 20 August 2019
Sports Ticker
  • Will the State Relinquish Control?
  • Will the State Relinquish Control?
  • Will the State Relinquish Control?

Will the State Relinquish Control?

Wisconsin State Law, under Senate Bill 109, prohibits school districts form starting classes until after September 1st, commonly referred to as the September 1st Start Date Law. School districts are permitted to appeal the law, requesting for an earlier school start. Dr. Mike Richie, is requesting that the Northland Pines School District will be allowed to start the school session before September 1st. This request is being made due to September 1st being the day before Labor Day weekend, pushing the school start date back to September 5th.

This appeal must be approved by the DPI (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction) before there can be any changes made to the school year calendar. Northland Pines District Administrator Dr. Mike Richie prepared two school calendars. Proposal One is formatted with school starting on September 5th and ending on June 6th, with Graduation held on June 3rd. With this calendar, there would be minor changes in breaks, with only three days of Thanksgiving break instead of a week. The days would be used as inservice for teachers later in the year. Proposal Two is formatted with school starting on August 28th and ending on June 1st, with Graduation being held on May 20th. This calendar is fairly similar to what the school district has been using, with a full week for Thanksgiving Break and less inservice days for teachers. The winter break would be the same with both calendars, allotting only one week of break.

Dr. Richie compiled a list of benefits for starting the school year before September 1st. These benefits include

  • An easier transition for the seventh and eighth graders moving to the high school this coming school year
  • More preparation for students taking standardized tests
  • Students becoming more engaged in their learning
  • A better schedule for students taking college classes
  • A more family-friendly fall sports schedule
  • Better alignment with the tourism of the area
  • Students can partake in full-time jobs starting on May 26th
  • A full week would be taken off during Thanksgiving Break to reduce the absentee rate from deer hunting students, when normally there are somewhere between 200 to 300 students absent from school
  • There should be local control when deciding the school start date
  • Charter and voucher schools are allowed to start before September 1st, public schools should be given the same option
  • Allow all state school districts to have the same learning opportunities
  • Allow students to work on farms

We interviewed Dr. Richie on the subject with questions regarding the early school start date. He explained in a staff poll  that 80 to 20 teachers favored for the early school start date. Dr. Richie plans on sending out of survey to the parents/guardians as well. This would also benefit kids involved in sports because there are sporting events already starting in late August, an earlier school start date would better accommodate their schedules. Dr. Richie also mentioned that DPI (Department of Public Instruction) only grants waivers to allow schools to start before September 1st when extraordinary measures are present, such as construction for schools or to match private schools and public schools that share the same bussing companies. The Chamber Board voted 8-0 in approval for the earlier start date, the school board also voted in approval 6-0.

By moving the school start date ahead of September 1st, our school district would provide better educational opportunities, allow students to participate in college classes and prepare for standardized testing. Changing the school start date would benefit our individual district, and it should be up to the school district to decide what school start date would work best for the community.

Dr. Richie already knew requesting the waiver required “extraordinary measures” to be granted for our district to start school before September 1st, and we were denied by DPI. However, he believes there is a way through legislation.

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