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Public schools to start, end later

  Dickinson Public Schools will begin classes on Aug. 27 — six days later than it started in 2013 — and will go into June 2015 for the first time in several years.

At its regular meeting Monday, the Dickinson Public School Board unanimously passed the 2014-15 school year calendar at the Central Administration Building in Dickinson.

“That’s been the traditional calendar in the school district since Moby Dick was a minnow,” Superintendent Doug Sullivan said. “We did take a look at an earlier start date, but the committee was not interested in that and I know that there has been — superintendents at Bismarck will be starting after Labor Day.”

The board debated the later start and end dates, which was conversation the state had at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year as many schools began as early as mid-August and had to send students home when a heat wave hit North Dakota and schools were not equipped with adequate air conditioning. Dickinson Catholic Schools sent elementary students home early, but all Dickinson Public Schools have central air.

There is a movement in the state to require all school districts to start after Labor Day, Sullivan said.

“I had numerous phone calls and emails about that — in favor of that,” Board President Kris Fehr said. “Also, people did not want to go to school in June. I’m unsure as to which way people would (want). Would you rather go to school a little earlier in August or do you want to go into June.”

Over the past decade, the weather for Memorial Day weekend has been less than pleasant, board member Leslie Ross said.

“Historically, it has not been a good weekend,” Ross said. “We had really, really good weather through August and into September.”

Graduation was set for Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 1 p.m.

“It will give people a chance to travel if they have to,” said Ralph Docktor, Dickinson High School principal.

Feb. 13, 2015, is a free day off the district could use as an additional snow day. It does have two built in per North Dakota law. The day could also be used as an additional professional development day.

There are four professional development days in the 2014-15 calendar — the same amount as the 2013-14, per the accepted collaborative bargaining agreement, Sullivan said.

“The board probably recalls that one difference of opinion between the board and the (Dickinson Education Association) and that would be five,” Sullivan said.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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