The thought of added a weekend or two on to the end of the summer is definitely an intriguing idea. I am sure there plenty of families that would love the thought of another weekend at the lake or traveling or more time helping in the fields. But what are the other factors to consider?
First, some of the push for this came about when certain schools had to have classes on extremely hot days in schools without air conditioning. I wouldn't be fond of that scenario either, but fortunately our school does have air-conditioning and is very comfortable on warm days.
I have heard some people who have had questions about the start of extracurricular activities. This year football and volleyball started practice in mid-August. People have asked if this would continue if the school year started later. The answer is yes. The start of practice is set by the North Dakota High School Activities Association and they have given no indication it will change. In fact, they sent out a letter yesterday documenting their opposition to Measure 8. They cite longstanding facility contracts for regional and state tournaments as a concern. These facilities (Fargodome, Alerus Center, etc.) have long-range schedules and NDHSAA events fall within these schedules. The state tournaments/end of the seasons will not be changing. The question would then center around either shortening the season or continuing to start the seasons in mid-August. I am sure many of our patrons would not be happy with shortening the football season to 5-6 games. If the starting practice dates are not changed, athletes could be starting sports 3-4 weeks before school starts.
Another issue would be the school calendar which to this point has been a local control decision. If school were not allowed to start until after Labor Day (Sept. 1 this year but it could be as late as Sept. 7) how would the school year be modified? Currently we have some flexibility to create a calendar which slots for various vacations around holidays and other timely breaks. Our ability to continue this could be restricted.
Finally, from the school's standpoint, we see the change in kids pre-winter and post-winter. The winters in North Dakota are draining on everyone. When winter finally ends, people are tired and want to get outside. We see it in the kids and how much more difficult it is to keep their focus in the spring. With a post-labor day start, our calendar would extend later into the spring, meaning more days of antsy kids who are eager to get outside.
It is my hope the school calendar remains a local control issue. If you have concerns about the school start date, please let me know. In the end, this will be settled by the voters so make sure your vote is heard regardless of which side you fall on this topic. Thanks and Go Warbirds!