SF Parents Surveyed On School Start Date

Nov 15, 2016

Thousands of parents in Sioux Falls are getting a survey about the school start date. This is the second year public schools in Sioux Falls started after Labor Day. As decision-makers look to the fall of 2018, they want to know the range of start dates stakeholders prefer.

Sioux Falls School District leaders are assessing what the school calendar should look like two years from now. Brian Maher is superintendent.

"There are a lot of things in between the beginning and the end that matter to people, but it seems the most emotion is raised on when you begin the year and when you end the year," Maher says.

Maher says historically school started around Labor Day and ended near Memorial Day, so that’s what people are used to.

Brian Maher is superintendent of the Sioux Falls School District.
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Fifty-two percent of voters in 2015 supported a ballot measure to delay the school start date in Sioux Falls until after Labor Day. That’s in effect for three years. So Sioux Falls is looking toward fall of 2018.

Maher says a calendar committee is taking input from students, teachers, and parents. He says they’re also hosting community forums.

"One of the things that we talked about through our strategic planning process was putting our self in a position to listen, and I think that’s really what we’re trying to do here is to listen," Maher says. "In the end, we’re going to have to put together a calendar. It’ll make sense hopefully to most, but not everybody will like the outcome. I’m certain of that. But I think what we need to do in terms of doing our due diligence is to really provide that opportunity for input right now before we come up with any solutions."

Across the state in Rapid City, school leaders are also considering whether changes make sense for students and staff for 2018/2019 school year.