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Commencement of School Term (School Start Date) Information

School Start Date Information

2001 Wisconsin Act 16 eliminated the provision that allowed a school district to commence its school term before September 1 in any year that it held a public hearing and adopted a resolution to do so. Act 16 allows a school district to make a request to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to commence its school term before September 1. The department may only grant a request if it determines that there are extraordinary reasons for granting it. DPI was required to promulgate administrative rules to implement and administer this provision. The rules can be found here: PI 27.03.  The extraordinary reasons are listed in PI 27.03(5).

Wis. Stat. sec. 118.045 Commencement of school term:

(1) Except as provided in subs. (2) and (3), beginning in the year 2000, no public school may commence the school term until September 1.

(2) Subsection (1) does not prohibit a school board from doing any of the following:

(a) Holding athletic contests or practices before September 1.

(b) Scheduling in-service days or work days before September 1.

(c) Holding school year-round.

(3) A school board may commence the school term before September 1 in any school year if the school board requests the department to allow it to commence the school term before September 1 and the school board includes reasons with its request. The department may grant a request only if it determines that there are extraordinary reasons for granting it. The department shall promulgate rules to implement and administer this subsection.
 

School Start Date Waivers

The department may grant a request only if it determines that there are extraordinary reasons for granting the request. The extraordinary reasons are listed in PI 27.03(5).  The process for requesting a school start date waiver can be found here: PI 27.03(3).

PI 27.03
(3)
 (a) A school board may commence a school term prior to September 1, if it submits a written request to the department under sub. (4) asking for an earlier school start date, and such request is granted by the department. The request shall be submitted annually by January 1 prior to the beginning of the school term.
(b) If an extraordinary event occurs after the January 1 deadline, the school board shall submit the written request under par. (a) at the earliest possible time prior to the beginning of the school term.
(4) The request under sub. (3) shall be adopted as a written resolution by the school board at a school board meeting that complies with the open meetings law under ss. 19.83 and 19.84, Stats. The request and resolution shall include all of the following:
(a) The reasons and any other relevant facts relating to the request for an earlier school start date.
(b) When an extraordinary event took place or a chronology of events leading to the request.

The letter and supporting documents can be sent to Chris Tiedje. School start date waivers are effective for one year.

For questions about this information, contact Christine Tiedje (608) 266-3706