More districts going back early

Posted: 8:47 AM, Aug 17, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-17 08:47:05-04

Soaking up the sun and enjoying the last few moments of summer.

"It's great to be able to come to a local place," said Christa Stanley, "Be able to swim and get the kids outside playing."

The mother of two brought her kids and some of their friends to Jackson's Nixon water park.

"We don't access to a pool. This is a nice location," Stanley said.

But in the back of her and her kids' minds, "it's gonna be here before we even know it. Summer is a blink," she said.

A blink away to the start of school.

"No one wants to start their school early," she said. "Parents don't want to start early. Kids don't want to start early."

Stanley's kids along with all the other students in Jackson's 13 public school districts will be hopping of the school bus and walking to class earlier than they did last year.

"We were talking about that balance calendar and really listen to what people were saying" said Geoff Bontrager, Northwest Community Schools Superintendent. "In general, what they were talking about is not really wanting to go to that balanced year round calendar."

After listening to the community instead of going to a year round calendar all of Jackson's superintendents came together to ask the state to start before September.

"It kind of fits into their schedule," Bontrager said. Since students are usually in school in August for extra curricular, why not start classes also.

"They're back and they're playing volleyball, they're playing football, and they're going to band camp and so they have all of these activities happening that are also hand in hand with school. Why not be back to school as well," said Bontrager.

Jackson County schools aren't alone. The Department of Education's Deputy Superintendent tells FOX 47 News more districts are following Jackson County's lead.

"Back in 2013 we had 38 districts that applied for a waiver for a Labor Day start waiver," said Kyle Guerrant, Deputy Superintendent. "In 2015 we had 98 districts. So a lot of communities are thinking about this."

More than a hundred districts throughout Michigan have applied to start sooner for next year's school year.

For the past 10 years the state has required districts to wait and start after Labor Day giving families a chance to support Michigan's tourism industry for one more weekend.

"People in the tourism industry have really linked them as if we don't give families an opportunity especially again in those later months and weeks in August," Guerrant said. "Then people won't come up North and won't kind of get out and enjoy pure Michigan."

Jackson schools says they've made a happy medium to start sooner and enjoy Labor Day weekend.

"Lets make that transition where Labor Day is a four day weekend and so those families that go up North or go on family trips can still keep that sacred," Bontrager said.

Time that parents like Christa can have with their kids.

"With everything change is hard thing for a lot of people," Stanley said. "I think so many people that holiday is their last farewell to summer and I think that's hard to let go."

It's time Stanley and her family won't have to let go - just adjust to.