For the first time in three years, Sioux Falls Public Schools will begin before Labor Day. School Superintendent Brian Maher told the Patrick Lalley Show that the decision to begin in August was not an easy one because public opinion on a start date is truly mixed.

“Some people wanted it earlier. Some people wanted it just a few days later than where we are actually starting. A few people wanted to start after Labor Day. I think what we did was put together an engagement exercise that was truly a compromise situation and still some strong opinions on when we should be starting.”

Arguments for starting the academic calendar before Labor Day is to finish the semester before Christmas and to teach as much Advanced Placement course material before the tests occur in May. Maher compares the numbers and found that students adapted well.

“The test scores really didn’t go one way or the other. Semester tests (scores) didn’t change much. AP results didn’t change much. Enrollment in AP courses didn’t change much. There’s not a lot of hard evidence that suggests you should start here or there (on the calendar).”

Generally most parents of younger students want a later start, while parents in the upper levels want an earlier beginning to the year. Sioux Falls Public Schools will begin classes on Thursday August 23, 2018.

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