West Des Moines Schools Looking at Alternate Dates for Start Time

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — West Des Moines Community Schools will look at alternate start dates if their August 12th waiver gets denied.

In January, the Iowa Department of Education said it would no longer automatically grant waivers to district hoping to start before September 1st.

“We already have a board approved calendar with a start date of August 12th,”said Elaine Watkins-Miller, West Des Moines Community Schools. “We held an entire process where we gather community input, had a committee and public hearings. It was approved.”

According to the Department of Education proposal, districts must show a significant negative educational impact in order to get a waiver.

The first choice will to be keep the August 12th date but the district wants to be proactive if a change must be made.

The two proposed dates are August 24th and August 31st.

Here is an explanation from the West Des Moines Schools’ website:

“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. The district is waiting for a response on its waiver request.”

Watkins-Miller said that they always try to give families a year in advance to plan. “So this year has been unfortunate, in that manner, that it’s spring break and out families want to know when the start of the school year will be,” said Watkins-Miller.

Districts are required by law to hold public hearings on proposed school calendars.

If you would like to attend the meeting is at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

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