Iowa changes waiver process

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Brant Barnhart, Writer

As Kennedy goes through a lot of changes, they will now be forced to move back the planned start dates for next year.

The Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, sent a letter to the head of Iowa’s Department of Education, Brad Buck, that said that the Department can no longer grant waivers automatically to start school before Labor Day.  The only way that districts will be awarded a waiver, is if they show that the later start date has a negative impact.

This will mean that instead of the Cedar Rapids Community School District’s planned start date of August 17th, they will be forced to start the first week of September.

“At one point in time, the calendar was approved by the school board,” said deputy superintendent Mary Ellen Maske, “And it is going to have to be a very special situation to start in August.”

This change was based a lot on how starting in mid-August has an impact on families’ vacation plans, as well as seasonal hiring.

“The Iowa State Fair starts in August, and they are trying to gt people to go to the Fair, because it’s a big moneymaker for the State,” Maske said.

This is going to change a lot of things within the schedule itself, like maybe condensing the school year, which would give students less days off. The school year might also go later into June.

“If we don’t get the waiver, the school board could decide to send school later into summer, but I think there are restrictions for that as well,” Principal Jason Kline said.

This will also interfere with the schedule of fall sports, because they are slated to start in mid-August.

“The IIAC has already released their schedule for fall sports like football and golf, and that could be problematic,” Kline said.

Both Kline and Maske believe that school should start earlier, but they will try to make it work.

“I prefer that we start earlier so we can get out earlier, but we will make it work no matter what,” Kline said.