Most Arkansas schools approved for early start date

December 15, 2017

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Nearly 200 school districts in Arkansas have been approved to start the next school year five days earlier than state law permits.

The state Board of Education decided Thursday to let 191 districts start the 2018-19 school year on Aug. 13. A dozen districts have yet to receive waivers of the statute that controls the timing for the start of a school year, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported .

Of those 12 districts, 10 are ineligible under the waiver law used by most districts, but they can ask for permission from the Arkansas Education commissioner. The remaining two districts plan to ask for an early school year start at the Education Board’s meeting next month.

State law sets the first day of school for the Monday in the week that contains the date Aug. 19. That would make the earliest first day of school Aug. 20 in the coming 2018-19 school year.

Districts can seek waivers of laws previously granted by the Education Board to open-enrollment charter schools that serve students residing in districts asking for waivers. The districts that use the waiver will begin the school year five days earlier than the law allows.

“As a school administrator I see that as five days where we can have more engaged instruction before assessments,” said Charles Cudney, director of the Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative. “I see that as five days we can provide additional professional development or teacher training. I see five days where we can engage parents in the school and parent teacher conferences.”


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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