Ask an Official: MAPS Superintendent discusses beginning and end dates of school year
This week’s featured question was submitted for MAPS Superintendent Dr. John Sample
The question reads:
“How is it determined when the first and last days of school are for MAPS? It just seems like we are always one of the first to start and last to end compared to other cities around here and even around the state. Can this be changed to get districts on the same page?”
Answer as given by Dr. Sample
“Thank you for your question. Our instructional minutes each school year are dictated by 2013 Act 257: Eliminating the 180 Day Requirement. It states that “each school board shall: (f) 2. Annually schedule at least 437 hours of direct pupil instruction in kindergarten, at least 1,050 hours of direct pupil instruction in grades 1 through 6 and at least 1,137 hours of direct pupil instruction in grades 7 to 12. Scheduled hours under this subdivision include recess and time for pupils to transfer between classes but do not include the lunch period.”
“Public school districts are required to meet the minimum number of instructional minutes per this act. This, in turn, drives the school calendars for each school district. Merrill Area Public Schools establishes their school calendar based on the requirements and also builds two inclement weather days within the calendar each year.
“Regarding the start date of public schools in Wisconsin, PI 27.03 Commencement of School Term, outlines the school start date for districts in Wisconsin. It reads:
(1) Except as specified under subs. (2) and (3), no public school may commence a school term until September 1.
(2) The provisions in this chapter do not prohibit a school board from doing any of the following:
(a) Holding athletic contests or practices before September 1.
(b) Scheduling in-service days or work days before September 1.
(c) Offering specialized programming for pupils before September 1. Specialized programming allows pupils to engage in specific activities such as gifted and talented classes, remedial education, migrant programs, or the youth option program. In addition, new learning strategies to address a school in need of improvement under s. 115.38 (4), Stats., may be considered specialized programming. While this provision allows certain activities for targeted groups of pupils to begin before September 1, it does not allow the school board to officially begin its school term before September 1.
(d) Holding school year-round.
“In summary, school districts in Wisconsin may not begin before September 1. We are also required to meet the established minimum number of instructional minutes each year. Each school district makes the local decision of how many professional development days they will have in their calendar. In MAPS, we call these days Merrill School Improvement days. We typically plan for five MSI days for each school calendar as we are an organization that values professional development. The final factors dictating the length of the school year are observed holidays and vacations, Spring Break being the most common.”
“Thank you again for the question! If you would like any additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.”
715-536-4581 ext 10002.”
Have a question or concern you would like to address? Simply send your question or concern to email@example.com along with an indication of which entity your question or concern pertains to. Current participants are the Merrill Police Department, Merrill Fire Department, Tomahawk Police Department, Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson, Merrill Area Housing Authority Director Paul Russell, Lincoln County Clerk Chris Marlowe, Lincoln County Forestry Land and Parks Director Kevin Kleinschmidt, local DNR Conservation Warden Curt Butler and Merrill Area Public Schools (MAPS) Superintendent Dr. John Sample. Please note: Those who submit to the ‘Ask an Official’ feature remain anonymous.