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UPDATED March 13: Two Possible Calendars for 2015-16

UPDATED March 13 2015 — The West Des Moines Community School District will ask its Board of Education to act on a final 2015-16 school year calendar and start date in the upcoming weeks. The goal was have a final calendar by March 13. However, as of spring break there were several factors pending at the state level that may affect when the district can start school next year.

The Iowa Department of Education (DE) recently notified the district that it will not respond to the district’s start date waiver request until after spring break. The district requested permission from the state to start school on Aug. 12, 2015, which was approved by the School Board last year. Current law requires schools to start classes during the week of Sept. 1, but the state has approved waivers to this law in the past. School districts across the state were notified in December that the DE would stop routinely granting waivers, and a new process has been implemented.

In addition, the state legislature is still considering several bills that address school start dates. While district administration seeks timely action, these pending factors are significant to finalizing the school calendar.

We thank you for your continued patience and apologize for the inconveniences this delay may cause. Please watch for updates here  on the district website and in the Informaline newsletter.

 

March 2, 2015 — The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education held two public hearings on Monday, Feb. 23 on two alternate calendars for the 2015-16 school year.

One proposed calendar has a start date of Aug. 24, 2015, which reflects a legislative bill currently under consideration. Key features of the proposed calendar include:

  • First Student Day: Monday, Aug. 24
  • Winter Break:  Dec. 23 – Jan. 3
  • End Semester 1:  Friday, Jan. 13 (90 days)
  • Flex Days: Nov. 25, March 11
  • Staff Work Days (No students): October 12, January 18, February 26, April 29
  • Spring Break: March 14-18
  • Last Student Day: Wednesday, June 1 (90 days)

More information is here: http://bit.ly/August24StartDate

The other alternate calendar proposes a start date of Aug. 31, 2015, which is in line with current state law. Key features of the proposed calendar include:

  • First Student Day: Monday, Aug. 31
  • Winter Break: Dec. 23 – Jan. 3
  • End Semester 1: Friday, Jan. 21 (90 days)
  • Flex Days: Nov. 25, March 11
  • Staff Work Days (No students): October 12, January 18, February 26, April 29
  • Spring Break: March 14-18
  • Last Student Day: Wednesday, June 8 (90 days)

More information is here: http://bit.ly/August31StartDate

These two alternate calendars are being proposed after school districts across the state were notified in December that the Iowa Department of Education would stop granting routine waivers to the law requiring schools to start classes during the week of Sept. 1. A new waiver submission process has been implemented. The district has submitted a waiver request for a calendar with a start date of Aug. 12, 2015, which was approved by the School Board last year. Information on this calendar is available here: http://www.wdmcs.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/calendar_at_a_glance_next_year.pdf. The two speakers at Monday’s public hearing asked questions about the Aug. 12 calendar.

The district was recently notified that it will not have a response on its waiver request until after spring break. District administration will be determining next steps and provide updates as they become available.