Early School Start Subject of Forum Monday Night

 01/08/2018 - 00:51

The community is invited to provide input on a proposal to start school the week before Labor Day.

The Saline Area Schools district is hosting a forum at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 8, in the media center at Liberty School.

To bolster Michigan’s tourism industry, in 2006 the state pushed the school start to after Labor Day. Today school districts can apply for a waiver to start school before Labor Day. The Saline district has already applied for such a waiver. However, the Saline Board of Education has not yet ruled on the issue.

(231 people voted in our poll on the issue. 123 people voted no while 96 voted yes. Click here for more.)

The board and district administration hope to receive feedback from the public at Monday’s public hearing.

The district is looking at two options – an August 27 start and a Sept. 4 start. A Saline Area Schools-produced document weighed the pros and cons of both start dates.

Aug. 27 Start

Pros:

  • High school final exams would take place before the Thanksgiving break.
  • Students are ready to be back in the routine.
  • Routines can be taught/learned prior to the Labor Day break, improving after Labor Day instruction.
  • Better assessment cadence for students, district final exams, assessment and state assessment are better spread apart.
  • Advanced placement students would have additional days prior to AP tests in May.
  • Still a four-day break for Labor Day.
  • The school year would end June 7 instead of June 14.
  • Greater alignment with the college cycle (especially for dual enrollment students).
  • 880 students who are in band and sports are already back in the schools in August.
  • There’s a perception that students tend to lack focus after Memorial Day.

Cons:

  • Impact on economy (There’s an estimated $20 million boost in the economy when school starts after Labor Day).
  • Added staffing costs – because Labor Day is a paid holiday.
  • Some families have already made plans for August 2018.
  • Impact on countywide schedules in programs where Saline and other districts share schedules.

Sept. 4 Start

Pros:

  • Extended summer; full trimester to do coursework in the summer.
  • Better ability to do an open house before school.
  • Less interference with athletics schedules in some sports (golf and swimming).
  • Vacations are scheduled for the week before Labor Day.
  • Collaborative programs (like South & West Washtenaw Consortium and High Point) would remain aligned with Saline’s schedule.

Cons:

  • Exams. The first round are after the Thanksgiving break.
  • Kids have limited access to programming that starts in early or mid May.
  • School goes into mid to late June.
  • The week of spring sports tryouts are during exams.
  • Attendance is down for athletics events prior to the start of school.
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Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of TheSalinePost.com. He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at tran@thesalinepost.com or call him at 734-272-6294.

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