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September 2014


Andy Schatschneider | I Want to Know

I want to know

Why is school starting so early this year?

It's that time of year again.

One week from today, students across Lake Country will head back to school. Summer always seems too short, and because Labor Day is so late this year, school seems to be starting especially early.

According to Oconomowoc Area School District Superintendent Patricia Neudecker, the school year usually starts fairly close to Sept. 1. In fact, unless they receive a waiver from the state, Wisconsin public schools are prohibited from starting classes until Sept. 1.

The start-date rule was included as part of the 2001 Budget Act, and took effect for the 2002-03 school year, said Department of Public Instruction spokesman Patrick Gaspar. The tourism/hospitality industry had pushed for a late start date, Gaspar said, in part to ensure that students wouldn't have to ditch their summer jobs when school starts and in part to allow people to take one last vacation before school starts.

For the 2009-10 school year, students in the Oconomowoc district will attend school through June 11. School year scheduling is dependent on several factors, Neudecker said, including the number of student instruction days required (180 days), the number of teacher days (190 in Oconomowoc, an amount negotiated by the teachers union), holidays and school breaks.

If the district had started school any later than Sept. 1 (districts are allowed to start anytime they want after the first), the end-of-school date would have had to be pushed too far into next summer, Neudecker said.

What do you want to know? E-mail your questions to iwanttok

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