Students in Arkansas could start school year one week early in 2018-19

NLRSD asks for early back-to-school feedback

A calendar change means your kids could have a different back-to-school date for August of 2018.

A law from the legislative session in 2011 determined that the start date for Arkansas public schools didn't quite account for the fact that a certain date doesn't always fall on the same day. That law has left many Arkansas schools rewriting their calendars to protect their students' coveted breaks and also make sure they graduate on time.

Public schools in the state are to start on or after the Monday of the week in which August 19 falls. In 2018, August 19 is on a Sunday, meaning school would start the day after, August 20.

"That would adjust our calendars a little bit, and could cause us to go into some of our breaks and maybe even calls us to have to extend the school year beyond the end of May into June,” said North Little Rock School District Superintendent Kelly Rodgers.

His district is one of many impacted by the law.

"It affects students going to camp, our staff going back to school, summer school programs, et cetera,” he added.

Schools can request a waiver with the Department of Education to start before that week. If they get the waiver, NLRSD will go back to school around August 13 or about a week early.

"While that's an early start, that would also allow us to get in to get the semester completed before the Christmas break, which is best academically for our students,” Rodgers said.

Before applying for that waiver, NLRSD opened a survey to see what staff and parents would like to do. Rodgers says around 1,600 people have filled out the online survey, most of them in favor of the waiver.

Parents at Crestwood Elementary School in the school district seemed to be okay with the idea of moving school a week earlier.

"As far as going a week earlier or a week later, it really doesn't matter to me, as long as they get the correct number of days in every year, it's fine,” said Todd Humphries, a parent of three children.

"You know, it doesn't matter to me. Either one would be fine, as long as we hit the days. That's not a critical item for myself. But I don't think the State should be meddling in what the districts are doing,” echoed Chalmer Wayland, who has two boys at the school.

"I think they should probably apply for the waiver and start at the same time if that makes them have a nice long break like they're used to,” said Andrea Sellew, parent of two.

The Arkansas Department of Education said there are a "handful" of schools that operate on a twelve-months school year that will be impacted. We have asked for, but have not yet received a copy of which schools could be affected.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment