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Proposal to start school after Labor Day to hit Nov. ballot

August 22, 2014


How a post-Labor Day school year would look?

By BRYCE MARTIN | Pioneer Editor |

When North Dakotans head to the polls in November, they will decide the fate of a somewhat controversial measure regarding the start date for schools statewide.

The outcome could mean a later start for next year’s students.

Petitions across the state circulated throughout the summer to raise enough signatures to place on the ballot a proposition to start school after Labor Day. It’s a move that has divided many – some find it unnecessary, others think it makes sense.

The decision, however, will be in the hands of the voting public.

More than 16,000 petition signatures were turned into the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office earlier this month to get the question on the November ballot.

The committee behind the proposal, the Start School After Labor Day Committee, has passionately echoed their sentiments regarding the move of school’s starting date from the traditional date during the third week of August.

Local parent and Bowman business owner Amanda Johnson wrote on the Pioneer’s Facebook page that she liked school’s August start date.

Robin Welch of Bowman doesn’t mind either way.

“I really don’t think it will matter either way to me. I have friends with kids in school last week, I have friends with kids in school after Labor Day,” Welch wrote on the Pioneer’s Facebook page. “I don’t think any one or the other is better off.”

Practice for school sports, on the other hand, will begin at the same time if the schools date changes, which effectively shortens those students’ summer. The later start date pushes the end of school date further into the summer.

“I don’t think they will [push the] starting date of sports back,” wrote Trevor Steeke, a Scranton teacher and coach. “If school starts after Labor Day, the students would have three games before school starts. If [they] pushed football season back, I don’t think playing football in November is good for anybody.”