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SF Vote Sets School Start After Labor Day

Kealey Bultena

Sioux Falls voters say they want public school to start after Labor Day. More than 14,000 people cast ballots Tuesday in a vote to elect school board members and decide when the school calendar should start.

Nearly 7,000 voters approve of school start dates in mid- to late-August, but even more people say they want the first day of school scheduled after Labor Day. Fifty-two percent of voters filled in the ballot's bubble to push the start date later.

Parent Wendy McDonnel supports the move to start school into September. She says community members want to be heard. 

"Part of it was they just wanted to have that voice," McDonnel says. "They felt compelled to vote and be able to have a say for their kids or their small business or whatever it might be that's important to them, and it all played a part in how this vote turned out."

McDonnel says the move offers families a more common sense calendar.

Opponents to the change say a later start date jeopardizes performance on Advanced Placement tests and makes it more difficult for kids who participate in extracurricular activities that start in August.

Sioux Falls school board members Kate Parker and Todd Thoelke were both re-elected. Randy Dopperpuhl had challenged the incumbents.