The Boise School District is backing off its proposal to start its fall semester a week earlier. But it is keeping the part of the proposal that would give final exams before students leave for winter break.
Administrators revised an earlier proposal in response to public comments, spokesman Dan Hollar said Wednesday.
“It became clear that there was considerable support for our proposed philosophical shift of ending the first semester prior to the winter holiday break but that patrons did not want to have to start the school year earlier to accomplish this,” Hollar said.
The changes will not affect the number of instructional days in the school year, he said.
The new revised calendar proposal eliminates two October in-service days and makes those days instructional days, Hollar said.
“The Calendar Committee believes that by having fewer instructional days in the first semester than the second semester, we actually balance out the total number of instructional days in the two semesters due to the fact that second semester has several days of testing and end-of-year activities,” Hollar said.
The revision would start the school year five days earlier than before: on Monday, Aug. 20, for the 2018-19 school year. The earlier proposal would have moved up the start date one week to Wednesday, Aug. 15, from Wednesday, Aug. 22. The semester would end Friday, Dec. 21.
The school year would end Friday, May 24, 2019, right before Memorial Day.
The school board is expected to decide on the changes at its meeting on Monday, Oct. 9.
Wahooz Family Fun Zone in Meridian, which includes the Roaring Springs water park, opposed the earlier starting date. Wahooz formed Save Our Summers, whose online petition gathered more than 1,700 signatures.
Some local officials, including Boise City Council member Lauren McLean and state Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, spoke against the earlier start. So did Elyse Thorpe, a Boise parent who teaches in the West Ada District, in this opinion piece published by the Idaho Statesman.