Milwaukee Public Schools is continuing its quest to change the start and end dates of its school year.
The district wants to begin classes for all students in August, letting them out in May. They then want to create an additional term- they're calling a "J-Term" in June. Superintendent Darienne Driver said that additional term would allow students to make up work for an entire semester. She said summer school would continue to operate in July.
Driver said the district spends $10 million on students repeating grades. She said that's a significantly higher number than the estimated $3 million the adjusted school year with the J-Term would cost the district. Driver believes the optional J-Term will have interest from families because it's part of the current school timeframe. Teachers would also have the choice to participate in the J-Term, but would be paid additionally for that time.
The district needs to ask the State to give them a waiver to start the year early. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction tells TODAY'S TMJ4 the State Superintendent has included a provision to allow Milwaukee Public Schools to start whenever the board decides.
That budget has not yet been voted on, but DPI said they support Milwaukee Public Schools in their efforts to change the school year.
After getting input from community members, teachers and parents the district has decided they will ask for only high schools to begin early for the upcoming school year. They said those students have the most urgent need for extra time in school.
Pending approval from the School Board and a change to state law, the district wants the rest of schools to begin early for the 2018/19 school year.
The school board will discuss the proposal Thursday, December 14th at 6:30 p.m.