Jul 29, 2014

UPDATED: School Board Nixes August Start Date—For Now

After a large turnout and everyone speaking in opposition of the proposal at the Northfield School Board meeting on Monday, the board decided the time wasn't right for the change.

UPDATED: School Board Nixes August Start Date—For Now

UPDATED: 9 a.m. Tuesday to include a statement from Superintendent Chris Richardson.

The proposed calendar that would have started Northfield schools on Aug. 13 is no more—at least for now.

After a large turnout and everyone speaking in opposition of the proposal at the Northfield School Board meeting on Monday, the board decided the time wasn't right for the change.

The board voted unanimously to direct administration to stop pursuing a balanced calendar for next school year and to cancel the upcoming public meetings regarding the balanced calendar, which were scheduled for this week and next week. In addition, the board directed administration to develop a strategy to engage the community in an ongoing discussion looking at different calendar options for the future. 

Superintendent Chris Richardson posted the following message on the district website Tuesday morning:

Dear Families,

At last evening’s Board of Education meeting, 26 parents, students and community members spoke with concern about the proposed change to the school district calendar structure for 2013-14. We appreciate the public sharing their concerns, especially regarding the desire to maintain access to summer activities and the accelerated timeline for considering its approval under State flexible learning year application requirements.

The Board voted unanimously to stop consideration of a more balanced calendar for the 2013-14 school year.  They directed administration to recommend a 2013-14 calendar in an upcoming meeting based on the traditional academic year with an after Labor Day start.

In addition, the Board directed the administration to cancel the three public meetings about the balanced calendar.  The meetings scheduled for January 15, 17 and 22 will not be held.  Further they requested that administration develop a plan to more deeply engage our community in a discussion about what kind of academic calendar will most benefit students in the future.  We will share more about this process and how to become involved after it is reviewed by the Board of Education.


Chris Richardson, Superintendent

The Say NO to the Proposed 2013-14 Northfield School Calendar  Facebook page shared messages of relief Monday night.

According to the Say NO Facebook page: 

Big News! The School Board has *just* voted to table this issue for a year. This is GREAT short term, but it means that we have a big battle ahead of us. Even though every single person tonight spoke out against these changes, the superintendent is pushing ahead - relentlessly. He wants to pass this - this is clearly what he wants to be his legacy. So we'll continue to need everyone's support and engagement over the course of the year: engaging others, attending meetings, providing feedback. You all helped make this happen....thanks, Northfielders!

A minute after the first message, this message was posted:

You all did it! The Board is currently entertaining a motion to cancel the application for the calendar variance with the state, cancel the public meetings, and initiate a series of public meetings to decide if an eventual change to our calendar will be of benefit. THAT will be a conversation worth having, so please stay tuned! For now we go with a traditional calendar! Thanks for all of your input and work to spread the word!

The group started on Friday after the proposed dates were released in a story on Patch. A petition was also started, which has garnered  293 signatures.

Since the proposal was made last month, there have been plenty of critics of the idea.

Nicole Linder, who started the petition, has written on Patch saying the shift in days would negatively affect family gatherings, summer activities and 4-H preparation heading into the Minnesota State Fair. 

"That is GREAT news! Thank you all for everything you've done!" Sara Connelly, who was interviewed  by WCCO earlier Monday about the calendar, wrote on the group's Facebook page.

The school board will consider the more traditional calendar, which has already been drawn up and includes a Sept. 3 start date, at a future meeting.

Read other school calendar posts on Patch

  • School Would Start Aug. 13 Under Proposed Calendar
  • Could School Start in Mid-August? District Exploring Calendar Changes

Follow Northfield Patch on  Twitter | Like us on  Facebook | Sign up for our free  newsletter 

Don’t miss updates from Patch!