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Petition for later school start is short on signatures

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GRAND FORKS — A group pushing for North Dakota’s public schools to start after Labor Day has so far collected at least 6,000 signatures, less than half of what’s needed for a statewide vote, according to a co-chair of the group.

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The movement to put the idea on the November general election ballot has been relatively quiet since last summer, when supporters across the state pushed the word out through social media and other outlets.

Several members contacted by the Grand Forks Herald — the majority of whom live in the Bismarck area and Fargo — said they hadn’t heard of much activity in recent months.

But the co-chairwoman of the petition’s sponsoring committee, Linda Striebel of Bismarck, said she’s still asking group members to mail her signatures to add toward their goal of 16,000. Committee members also will be at the State Fair in Minot in July to collect signatures.

For the initiated measure to be placed on the ballot, the group must collect 13,452 signatures by Aug. 6.

“I just sent out an email to people last week to take their petition along to their children’s events, parades, anything,” Striebel said.

Although school boards in Bismarck and Grand Forks approved the late start date, the group “wants it to be statewide,” she said.

She said the committee doesn’t currently have future events planned in addition to the fair, but members can stay informed through the group’s Facebook page, which had 6,295 likes as of Friday, and a new Web page that will provide the latest information.

“I think this spring it slowed down, but now we’re ready to pick it back up again,” she said.

Find information about the petition at startndschoolafterlaborday.org.

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