Editorial: Share your opinions about calendar issue

Published 9:44 am Thursday, February 9, 2017

Whether to start school early is back at the forefront for the Albert Lea School Board.

The board discussed the issue Monday during a work session, looking at both pros and cons for two different calendars. The first option would start school Aug. 22. The second proposal would start school the day after Labor Day — Sept. 5. School this year started Aug. 24.

On the positive end for the early calendar, students were more relaxed over Christmas break because the first semester had already ended. Students are also given another week of instruction before the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments and Advanced Placement exams. Some parents would even argue that their children are anxious to get back to school by the end of August anyway. 

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On the opposing end, starting school after Labor Day benefits families coordinating vacations and is in line with other districts across the state. Some parents would argue that starting school before Labor Day interferes with teenagers who are working and those involved with activities such as the state fair.

Many of these issues were also discussed in a recent Thought Exchange process online that gave parents the chance to weigh in on concerns with the early calendar.

Whatever your opinion, we encourage residents — and particularly those with children in the district — to attend the public hearing on the matter Feb. 21. A second public forum on the issue and board action is expected March 6.

This is your chance to voice your opinions. If you feel strongly either way, let your voice be heard.