Select Page

Legislative Update

Action needed: DPI proposes changes to school start date to allow schools more flexibility

by | Mar 11, 2024 | Legislative Update Blog, State Issue

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) recently proposed changes (Clearinghouse Rule CR 24-026) to the school start date rule that governs the issuance of start date waivers. The goal behind this is to provide clearer guidance and additional flexibility for school districts when applying for a waiver. The proposed rule provides more flexibility for school boards when seeking to adjust their school calendars to better meet the academic and local needs of their respective districts. Currently, school boards are significantly limited in requesting an exemption to the school start date.

The WASB strongly supports this proposed rule based on our WASB Resolution supporting local control of the school start date. While this does not get us all of the way back to school boards having the authority to set their own start date locally, boards would be granted greater flexibility in determining the start date for their district. PLEASE SUBMIT COMMENTS IN SUPPORT OF THIS RULE (information on how to do this is below).

To Submit Comments:

A preliminary hearing will be held on March 25. [Details: Date and Time: Monday, March 25, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. Location (Conference call only): Phone Number 608-620-9781, Conference ID 595 960 120#]

The purpose of the hearing is to consider public testimony on the proposed rule under consideration. Interested persons are invited to appear at the hearing and will be afforded the opportunity to make an oral presentation of their position on the proposed rule. Individuals who would like to submit written comments may do so via the Legislature’s website or by contacting Carl Bryan, Legislative Policy Coordinator, at adminrules@dpi.wi.govWritten comments received by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 25, 2024, will be given the same consideration as testimony presented at the hearing.

It is VITALLY important that schools generate a large number of contacts in support of this rule. The tourism lobby will be doing their best to generate opposition to the rule. Ultimately, the fate of the rule will be decided by the Legislature. Part of the report the legislative committee will receive includes a final tally of contacts in favor and opposed to the rule and a summary of the arguments made. Please consider submitting written comments of support for the rule including multiple contacts (from board members or administrators) from the same district. These comments can be a very short and concise statement on why this flexibility would be beneficial to your students.

Specifically, Clearinghouse Rule CR 24-026 creates academic grounds for applying for a waiver to begin school earlier:

“A determination by the school board that an earlier commencement date will improve student achievement across content areas or address academic needs, which includes any of the following:

  1. Student graduation rates.
  2. Reading proficiency, as measured by reading readiness scores, and mathematics proficiency.
  3. Student attendance or absenteeism.
  4. Coordination between universities, technical colleges, and school districts related to dual or concurrent enrollment.
  5. Mental health of students and staff.
  6. Recruitment and retention of the educator workforce.
  7. Coordination between one or more school districts related to educational programming.”

We will be sending out additional information and action alerts on this issue. Please let us know if you have any questions about the process or how to submit comments.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Subscribe to the WASB blogs!

Subscribe to receive notifications of new posts by email.