State Leaders Continue To Discuss School Start Dates

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa schools may be forced to start school this fall the week of September 1st — or they may not.
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Iowa law says school should start in the week in which September 1st falls. To deviate from that requires a waiver. But the Iowa Department of Education has been issuing waivers to almost all districts that ask for one.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad urged Iowa Education Director Brad Buck to inform school leaders in December that the Department of Education would no longer automatically issue waivers to districts that wanted to start early, and that’s what Buck did. He indicated that earlier start dates would only be considered if a district could prove “significant negative educational impact,” by starting later.

Now, however, there are bills in both houses of the legislature that would restore the power of school districts to start early. And Branstad has indicated that he is willing to reach a compromise on the issue to come up with something that will benefit schools.

At this point it remains to be seen what the final outcome will be, and schools in northwest Iowa are waiting on the verdict.

Radio Iowa assisted with this story.