Balance Local Control

Raise Voice on School Calendar Flexibility

By March 22, 2015 No Comments

With the late start to school next September, many local school districts have requested flexibility from their legislators for the next school year start date.

Earlier Start

More than 40 school districts have told MREA their school boards passed resolutions requesting the ability to start school before Labor Day in 2015.

The Senate’s omnibus education policy bill (SF 1495) grants a one-year allowance for districts to begin on Sept. 1 this year. The usual cast of characters, the Minnesota State Fair and resort industry, oppose this provision, and they will work with their Senate allies to strike this provision from the Senate’s education policy bill.

If this provision matters to you, be sure to contact your Senator soon and ask for support for your district to consider a start to school either on or after Sept. 1 this year.

Four-Day Week

In addition to districts seeking a pre-Labor Day start this year, several communities have come forth seeking help from the legislature to preserve their four-day school weeks.

These districts currently have Flexible Learning Year plans approved by the Minnesota Department of Education, but the Dayton administration has signaled an end to these as he wants districts to keep their schools doors open five days a week.

In defiance of the Governor’s wishes, the House and Senate omnibus education bills (SF 1495 & HF 1591) extend the opportunity to all districts and charter schools to file Flexible Learning Year (FLY) plans with the Minnesota Department of Education(MDE), but the two proposals remove the authority of the Education Commissioner to approve or disapprove FLY plans.

If passed into law, each district or a consortia of districts could file a FLY plan with MDE and create your district’s learner year within the hour limits for all schools.

It has been a long standing position of MREA that school districts should have local control of their learner year calendar. Expect the Commissioner to defend fiercely her authority to approve or disapprove such plans.