School cut short, but starts early

SCHOOL EARLY START PKG 6

ROCKWELL, Iowa - It’s tough on parents but it’s also tough on schools and the heat is forcing some early-start schools to cut classes short and that has people wondering why start early at all?

Each year, schools in Iowa and Minnesota start earlier and when the hot weather hits at the end of summer like this year, they’re starting early, but cutting the class day short.

This year, that means a hot school building and parents trying to juggle schedules.

For parents like Abbey Pitzenberger of Rockwell, starting school early was one thing but getting out early on those days is having her do so much more

“Well some of the challenges is just getting the kids back to school mid-August. It seems like we should still have some time off summer vacation left but schools extreme heat, it requires some advanced planning,” said Pitzenberger.

The West Fork School District is one of many schools around the state with an early start date.

After an initial meeting by school board members each year, waivers are filed with the Department of Education to start earlier than the Labor Day week start of September 1.

Although as temperatures rise, and classes are cut short, many question an early start.

It’s something West Fork School District Darrin Strike says doesn’t happen often.

“We have not had a large number of days for heat release in the past years. As a matter of fact, when I look back. We have let school out more during the first week of September then we actually have in August,” said Strike.

Today fewer schools in Iowa start in September.

In fact, only 10 school districts in Iowa last year did not apply for an early start date.

Something one department of education spokesperson says is taking away from the cause.

“Because the law essentially sets the mandatory start date and it’s our job at the Department of Education to comply with the law. So allowing everyone to receive a waiver from the school start date doesn’t seem to be in line with the law’s intent,” said Staci Hupp, Spokesperson with the Iowa Department of Education.

For West Fork, they say they are working on trying to limit the effect of the lost time.

“One of the things we’re doing is since we know in advance that we’re going to be releasing. We’re meeting in all of our classes. So that the students have the opportunity to communicate with teachers for every class and to stay on track,” said Strike.

Earlier this month, the Iowa  Board of Education voted down a proposal for stricter enforcement of schools receiving waivers for early start dates.

In a 5-2 vote, the board decided on not having the proposal go to a public debate.

However according to the Department of Education, while they are disappointed by the verdict, they still respect the decision made to remain

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