BRADENTON -- Manatee County students, parents and school district employees can mark their calendars for the start of the 2016-17 school year, as the school board is expected to give the final stamp of approval to a draft calendar on Tuesday.
For the 2016-17 year, students would report on Wednesday, Aug. 10, with the district taking advantage of a relaxed law from the state. Teachers will head back Aug. 4, the Thursday beforehand, to start preparing. The calendar set for approval on Tuesday is the same draft calendar released by the district in October.
"It's the same one that we posted, that has been posted all along," said Paul Hockenbury, the district's coordinator of leadership development. "We added some hurricane makeup days, if needed."
With the earlier start date -- this year, kids started on Aug. 24 -- the first semester of the year will end before the winter break, and students will be finished with classes just after Memorial Day. The earlier start date for Manatee County is also in line with what surrounding districts are doing, Hockenbury said, including Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.
After initially presenting the draft calendar to the school board, Hockenbury surveyed stakeholders to see how they'd feel about eliminating a few days from the winter break so that students would end the school year before Memorial Day. The answer was a resounding no from those surveyed, Hockenbury said, so the calendar stayed the same.
Of the feedback he has collected, the majority was in favor of the draft calendar, but there are some people who still feel starting on Aug. 10 is too early, he said.
On Tuesday, the board is also expected to approve the 2017-18 academic calendar, which also has a start date of Aug. 10.
"We're trying to give our families as much notice as possible," Hockenbury said.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter@MeghinDelaney.