Senator Feenstra Weighs In On School Start Dates

Des Moines, Iowa — School start dates are on the minds of several northwest Iowans, especially school boards, administrators and athletic directors.
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The start date for next school year in the Sheldon Community School District is still up in the air, as it is for all of the school districts in northwest Iowa, due to the very high bar set by the Iowa Department of Education at Governor Terry Branstad’s request — for waivers to start school earlier than the week in which September first falls. Sports and other activities could also be affected. School leaders are saying a later start date would not only mean a later release date in the spring, but could affect standardized test scores, due to having less time to prepare.

We had a chance to talk with Iowa District 2 State Senator Randy Feenstra and he gives us an update as to some bills that could set a compromise date.

Governor Branstad wanted the later start dates to allow Iowans with school-aged children to attend the Iowa State Fair, and to a lesser extent extend the vacation season at destinations like the Iowa Great Lakes. But Feenstra says his office now seems open to a compromise.

Since school districts are in a time crunch, due to having to get the schedules finalized, we asked Feenstra how long he expects it to take to give them a definitive answer.

He says his district, which includes Sioux, O’Brien, and Cherokee counties, and a little bit of Plymouth County, is basically split 50/50 with those who want earlier and those who want later start dates.

Feenstra says he’s excited that that there will now be a set policy, with no more waivers.

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