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833: School will begin after Labor Day

Reluctantly, School District Superintendent Tom Nelson recommended to the school board at the March 26 meeting that the district set Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day, to start school this fall.

State law prohibits school districts from starting before Labor Day.

A bill to let districts start before Labor Day for two years and one to permanently lift the ban have been defeated, Nelson said.

Though changing the law could come up again, it could be May or June before a decision is made, he said. That might be too late for families to make vacation and day-care plans.

Nelson said he prefers school calendars be set by school districts and not the Legislature.

Lawmakers who voted against changing the law argued that an early start hurts the resort industry and the Minnesota State Fair if students must leave jobs to start school.

Classrooms are too hot by the second week in June, said board member Jim Gelbmann, who said the district should "hold out" that the Legislature will change the law.

A month ago, the board approved two calendars, one to start before Labor Day and one with a Sept. 8 start pending legislative action.

The motion to start Sept. 8 was 4-3 with board members Ellen Ayers, Denise Kapler, Marsha Adou and board chair Ron Kath voting in favor and Gelbmann, Tracy Brunnette and Leslee Boyd voting against.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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