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Push On For Earlier School Start Date In Wisconsin

State Law Prohibits Public Schools From Starting Before September

Children in classroom
Chuck Burton/AP Photo

School administrators hope they’ll soon be able to start the school year before Sept. 1.

A state law enacted in 2000 and pushed by the tourism industry prohibits public schools from starting earlier than September. Republican Rep. Jim Ott is circulating a bill that would remove that restriction.

Schools have pushed for years for the option of starting earlier to align with high school sports practices and free up time for advanced placement exams in the spring. Advocates say support for the measure among administrators has never been so high.

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But businesses that rely on tourists don’t want school years shifting back into August, one of their most profitable months. And Republican Sen. Luther Olsen, whose district includes the Wisconsin Dells, said he’ll veto any budget that includes the measure.