Summer slides into classrooms

More than 80,000 Treasure Valley kids head to school this week and next.

broberts@idahostatesman.comAugust 19, 2013 

Break’s over. Grab the new school supplies. Set the alarm earlier than you probably have since May. Get out the new wardrobe.

School’s coming and here’s what you need to know:

When does school start?

- Tuesday for the Nampa School District.

- Thursday for schools in the Caldwell and Kuna districts.

- Aug. 27 for Boise and Meridian school districts.

Slow it down, Buster

All those reduced speed zones around schools will be back in force. That typically means 20 mph. And in Boise, the police department means business. They will be out in force making sure you’re light on the accelerator. And if you get pulled over, don’t bother begging for mercy. Police say they’ll issue no warnings. Just a ticket — for $156, about the same as elsewhere in the Treasure Valley.

Boise handed out 44 tickets for speeding in school zones last school year.

In Nampa, police are warming up for traffic problems by pulling over drivers who aren’t yielding to pedestrians around schools, even though classes aren’t in session yet. They want to make sure drivers know to play it safe.

One more thing about tickets: If you pass a school bus with its red stop sign extended, it will cost you$270, for example, in Meridian.

What’s new this year?

Two words: Common Core.

Idaho has embarked on a tougher curriculum this school year for students. It requires critical thinking and deeper study of subjects than in the past. Students will see more word problems in their math assignments and fewer “drill-and-kill” sheets. Many will also be piloting new and more rigorous achievement tests.

How are Nampa schools doing?

Nampa School District weathered a tough financial year, with revelations of a $5 million deficit and budget cuts. When schools open this year, 23 percent of the district’s teachers will be new — and about half of those will be new to the profession.

Nampa’s school year will be cut by 14 days, five of them days when students would have been in the classrooms. School starts a day later than originally planned and will end about a week sooner.

Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts

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