A bill to repeal the mandatory school start date of September 1 has been introduced in the Wisconsin legislature with 24 Assembly co-sponsors and 11 Senate co-sponsors.
One of the co-sponsors is Representative Mary Felzkowski of Lincoln county.
Northland Pines Administrator Michael Richie said he received 16 letters of support from chambers of commerce across Wisconsin and two chambers opposed. The two chambers opposed were Tomahawk and Land O' Lakes, even though, Richie says, the Tomahawk school district supports the repeal.
One of the districts supporting the bill is Rhinelander. Superintendent Kelli Jacobi says the approved school calendar for next fall reflects the problem districts are having with the start date....
" ....we've just finished our calendar for next school year...and in it the start date being Sept. 1 and not before means we'll be starting the school year on a Friday. That is not logical. We would very much have made it the Monday of that week, but that is not possible with the current statute in place..."
Jacobi says the public schools have a disadvantage compared to other schools...
".....charter schools, private schools, voucher schools can choose their start dates. They're not set to that September 1 start date. They have the opportunity for students to be in schools longer before state assessments, before ACT testing..all of those things. We want to make sure it is even...."
Tourist interests fear a loss of business as families return home from vacation sooner so kids can go to school.
The bill, AB 103, has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Education and if passed, would apply to the 2018-19 school year.