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Will your child start school early in 2024 but have days off for the NFL Draft?

Posted at 7:42 AM, Nov 14, 2023
  • Wisconsin state law prohibits schools from starting before Sept. 1 without applying for a special exemption
  • At least five local school districts considered changing school calendars to accommodate for the 2025 NFL Draft
    • Green Bay Area Public Schools discussed a waiver request at its board meeting Monday. If approved, the district plans to start school Aug. 26, 2024 and give three days off (April 23-25) for the Draft
    • Ashwaubenon School District superintendent Kurt Weyers said his district plans to do the same, but would start school Aug. 28, 2024
    • Unified School District of De Pere approved a waiver at its board meeting Monday, requesting an Aug. 28, 2024 start date, and plans for a staff development day Friday, April 25, 2025
    • School District of West De Pere does not plan to alter its calendar for the Draft
    • Howard-Suamico School District does not plan to alter its calendar for the Draft
  • Video above shows Green Bay school district officials discussing the potential decision to apply for a waiver

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

The NFL Draft is expected to bring 300,000 people to Northeast Wisconsin — which makes some educators …

"[…] Concerned about staff travel and student travel," said Green Bay Area Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Vicki Bayer.

… and looking for ways to give staff and students some days off in April of 2025. The Green Bay school board discussed whether to start school early in 2024 to make up for time lost to the Draft.

"What a great opportunity for our kids and our staff to participate in whatever the NFL is offering that week," Bayer said. "We don't want to deny them that opportunity."

The Green Bay school district plans to ask the state for an exception to a law that prohibits schools from starting on or after Sept. 1.

Bayer said the state Department of Public Instruction does not give these exceptions lightly.

"DPI has very specific language when it comes to asking for this request," Bayer said. "We're fortunate when we asked them last week, 'Will this qualify?', they agreed that it would."

At the meeting, the school board seems ready to submit a letter formally asking for the exception.

"I've read these two documents and I will give my 100% support on this," Board Trustee Lynn Gerlach said.

If the DPI approves it, the district may start a week earlier than normal.

"We might actually begin on Monday of that last week of August," Bayer said.

Four other local school districts decided whether to apply for waivers to start school before Sept. 1.

Howard-Suamico and West De Pere will not change their 2024-25 calendars for the Draft.

De Pere already approved a waiver at its board meeting Monday night, hoping to start school August 28.

Ashwaubenon School District plans to do the same.

The Green Bay school board will vote on whether to send a waiver to the state at their meeting in two weeks. The Ashwaubenon school board will do the same on December 13.