Pinellas plans vote on early August start date for 2016-17 school year
Love it or hate it, the Pinellas County School District's proposal to start the school year in early August will be aired in a public hearing Tuesday.
The proposal would move the 2016-17 start date to Aug. 10, the earliest date allowed under a new state law that gives school districts more leeway in scheduling. Teachers and other school staff would report to work Aug. 1. The last day of classes would be May 25, 2017, for students and May 26 for staff.
Those dates are two weeks earlier than the current school year. The transition - with the current school year ending June 7 and the next one starting early - would result in a shorter-than-usual summer break in 2016.
The School Board will vote on the new calender at its meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday at district headquarters, 301Fourth St. SW in Largo. Members of the the public can comment on the proposal during the comments section toward the beginning of the meeting.
Board members expressed little opposition to the change at their workshop last week.
David Richmond, a managing officer in the district's payroll operations who co-chairs the district's calendar committee, said the shift in the school year would make for a more balanced quarter system. The first quarter, spanning from Aug. 10 to Oct. 11, 2016, has 44 days, and the second quarter from Oct. 13 to Dec. 16 has 42 days. The third and fourth quarters in 2017 would each have 47 days.
The Hillsborough County School Board voted last month to approve an Aug. 10 start date for next year, and Pasco County board members will consider a start date of Aug. 15 at their meeting in early November.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected. A previous version misstated the number of votes required of the School Board and the process by which the public could comment on this proposal.)