Balance Local Control

School Calendar Flexibility Heats Up at Capitol

By February 8, 2015 No Comments

The House Education Innovation Committee heard last week from many communities seeking flexibility from state requirements on local school calendars. Many districts are seeking waivers this coming year and longer from the requirement to start school after Labor Day. Several districts also requested the ability to maintain their current four-day school weeks.

Many school boards have adopted local resolutions asking the state for calendar flexibility. Those resolutions have been turned into several specific legislative requests that were brought to the House.

The Senate E-12 Committee on Wednesday will review the same package of local requests for calendar flexibility.

Legislation is pending to give statewide flexibility to all boards to start before Labor Day. That bill (HF 100/SF 115) would prohibit schools from holding school on the Thursday and Friday before Labor Day in an effort to compromise with the recreational interests of Minnesotans.

It’s unclear this early in session as what the result will be. We know this is frustrating as schools are setting calendars for next school year at this moment. However, the legislative process typically doesn’t produce an answer on a significant policy issue like this in short order. Like everything else, this issue is tied among many competing interests that insert themselves in the state policy debate over school funding and policy.