Some Schools Would Be Able To Start School Year Earlier Under New Bill

Bill Aims To Accommodate Schools In Which Large Number Of Students Are Taking AP Exams

Wisconsin Public Television

Two Republican legislators are circulating a bill for co-sponsorship that would allow select school districts to start the school year earlier.

Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Jim Ott’s bill would create an exception to the law that prohibits public schools from starting before Sept. 1. Under the bill, school districts with more than 20 percent of students taking Advanced Placement exams could choose an earlier start date.

Jon Bales, executive director of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, said he supports giving school boards more flexibility. However, he said he’d like more schools to be included.

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“It’s a fairly narrow population when you think in terms of, 20 percent of your population needs to be in AP,” said Bales. “The reality is particularly in some smaller districts, due to long-standing financial constraints, they’re not going to have those same opportunities.”

An earlier start date would allow school districts to have more instructional time before Advanced Placement exams are given in the spring. The tourism industry has opposed previous legislative efforts to repeal Wisconsin’s mandatory school start date.