House Bill 4429, passed in 2006, established a uniform start date for all public schools. Beginning with the 2007-08 school year, the opening date for students can not be before the third Monday in August, except for schools operating on a year-round modified school calendar. That requirement makes it nearly impossible to complete the first semester before Christmas without making the 1st semester significantly shorter as compared to the 2nd semester.
Our district received from the Education Oversight Committee allowing our middle school and high schools be allowed to begin school earlier than the 3rd Monday in August to allow us to complete the 1st semester before Christmas break without shortening the number of instructional days significantly. The waiver was approved based on academic reasons. Since elementary schools do not participate in exams or dual enrollment classes, there were not valid educational reasons for elementary schools to start early. This is why we now have a different calendar for elementary schools.
We understand that this is not ideal for families. However, we feel strongly that the educational benefits of completing the 1st semester before Christmas break for our high school students outweigh the benefits of having one calendar for all schools.
It is important to note that all holidays, teacher workdays, and inservice days are the same on the calendars. It is only the start and end dates that differ.