School board to consider sending start date resolution to Madison
Jacobi seeks to regain local control
BY EILEEN PERSIKE
A resolution to give control of school start dates back to the school district passed the Rhinelander School District Operations Committee by a vote of 2-1 and is on the full board agenda for the Feb. 20 meeting.
Since 2000, the state has mandated that schools begin no earlier than Sept. 1. Superintendent Kelli Jacobi told the Committee there is currently a push in Madison to get that changed, and offered an example of why she believes it makes sense.
“In 2017, Sept. 1 is a Friday,” Jacobi stated. “It would have been nice to have started on Monday of that week. We’re not looking at a huge difference; we’d be looking at it making sense, being logical for that start date rather than starting school on a Friday.”
Committee member David Holperin said he will vote no.
“I think you have to pick your battles and this is not a battle that I want to pick with the state,” Holperin said. “I think the funding issue is far more important, but the start date–there was a reason why they went to this and I think that reason is still valid.”
“From my understanding, the reason they have this rule is because business suggested they needed workers to be around,” said Committee member Dennis O’Brien. “I’m all for people having jobs, but in this instance if starting school is more reasonable at a certain time, earlier in the year, I don’t think we should allow the business interests to interfere with that so I’m going to vote for it.”
Jacobi said that charter, parochial and voucher schools already have the ability to choose their start date, and added, “if it’s okay for some schools, shouldn’t it be okay for all schools.”
Board president Ron Counter said the Northland Pines district passed a similar resolution which was supported by the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce over a month ago.
If the full board approves the resolution, Jacobi said she would forward it to legislators and other policy makers in Madison. Jacobi noted that the 2017-2018 SDR calendar would not be affected even if the legislature would vote to make the change.