BRADENTON -- The Manatee County School District has released proposed calendars for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years, which has school starting two weeks earlier than in years past.
In the last legislative session, the state lifted a restriction on school district start times, allowing school to start as early as Aug. 10, instead of Aug. 24.
Manatee officials had expressed interest in taking advantage of the option for this school year, but community outcry stopped the process as parents and families had already planned vacations.
"This year, it's obviously very important to get this information out as soon as possible," said Ryan Saxe, executive director of secondary education.
For the 2016-17 school year, a draft calendar has school starting Wednesday, Aug. 10.
Teachers would start Thursday, Aug. 4.
For the 2017-18 school year, a draft calendar has school starting Thursday, Aug. 10.
Teachers would start Friday, Aug. 4.
School would end May 30 and May 31, respectively.
With the new start date, the first semester would be over before winter break starts. As it stands, students return to school after the winter break and still have some time left in the first semester, which can lead to issues with end-of-semester exams.
The district is seeking public input on the draft calendar proposals before sending them to the Manatee County School Board for approval.
"The public feedback is also very important," Saxe said. "We can make some modifications based on those suggestions."
The date school calendars will be discussed by the school board has not been scheduled yet, spokesman Mike Barber said.
Community members with questions or comments on the calendar can contact Paul Hockenbury, district coordinator of leadership development at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 941-751-6550, ext. 2315.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.