Parents of N.D. Students Push for Post-Labor Day Start Date - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Parents of N.D. Students Push for Post-Labor Day Start Date

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In the coming days and weeks, the summer quiet of hallways and bus loops across North Dakota will be replaced by the bustle of kids.

In Bismarck-Mandan, however, several parents would like to see that first day put off just a little while longer.

That's why they're advocating a statewide plan which would delay the start of the school year until after Labor Day, the way it is in Minnesota.

"I grew up in Minnesota, so I'm used to school starting after Labor Day, and honestly it was hard switching," says Amy Nelson. Nelson's daughter will be entering second grade at Freedom Elementary starting next Tuesday, making any last minute vacations tough to plan.

"We were able to do any family vacations," Nelson explains. "It's still warm out. Labor Day weekend, if you wanted to extend it... leave Thursday, Friday... go somewhere and come back Monday."

They are not alone. Monday afternoon in Mandan, parents announced plans to gather signatures for a November 2014 ballot, requiring North Dakota schools to start after Labor Day like Minnesota.

If you think the plan sounds attractive, you might wonder why it hasn't been implemented in schools already. There, West Fargo Superintendent Dr. David Flowers can explain.

"[The schools] have a calendar committee that participates in the drafting of our calendar, and we survey parents in connection with that," Dr. Flowers said. "The last time we surveyed about 'after Labor Day versus before Labor Day,' it was about 50-50. [...] If our poll of local parents is any indication, then it's probably going to be a mixed bag."

From Dr. Flowers' perspective, each side holds advantages and disadvantages for the school district - like when school will end in the spring - and that adjustments could be made either way. 

Although Nelson is on board with starting after Labor Day, she still wonders when school would end if the switch came. It is one of the many questions parents will be asking as the ballot push continues.

To get the measure on the November 2014 ballot, petitioners have to gather 13,500 valid signatures within 90 days of submitting their proposal to the Secretary of State's Office.
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