(Atlantic) The Iowa Department of Education has come up with a new formula for when schools can start classes in the fall. Currently Iowa law says schools can start no earlier than the week in which September 1 lands, but most schools get waivers to start earlier in August.
Atlantic Schools will begin classes August 14 this year. Atlantic School Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein (PICTURED) says he is a firm believer in local control of school districts.
“That is a decision that each individual school board should make,” stated Amstein. “They know their school district the best and I think that is just an example of erosion of school responsibility and rights to go ahead and make that determination.”
Dr. Amstein says each district must complete 180-days each school year and the early start waiver allows schools some wiggle room in case of inclement weather.
“And let’s say for some reason you have inclement weather that may cause a district to miss five or ten days, well if you are starting after Labor that would mean the school year would last well into June. And I don’t think school boards want their students going to school into June.”
Under the new proposal schools could continue to easily get waivers to start between August 19th and 23rd, but it would be tough to start any earlier.
Officials from the Iowa Department of Education say with their current calendars, 30-percent of school districts would be affected by the new formula, but most would miss the new cutoff date by only a few days. The change means it will be harder to start school before the state fair concludes, which will upset some administrators and parents.
If the board approves the new rules this week and a legislative committee signs off, the change would go into effect for the 2014 school year.
July 29, 2013