Posen schools explore pre-Labor Day start next year

POSEN — A pre-Labor Day start for the 2020-21 school year is in the works at Posen Consolidated Schools.

The Posen Board of Education on Monday sent a resolution asking for the earlier start date to the Cheboygan-Otsego-Presque Isle Educational Service District. If multiple school districts seek the earlier start date, the COP ESD would send a request to the state on behalf of those districts, COP ESD Superintendent Jamie Huber said.

Onaway school officials also are exploring a pre-Labor Day start. It wasn’t immediately clear if Rogers City, the other Northeast Michigan district in the COP ESD, is seeking such a change. Rogers City Superintendent Nick Hein could not be reached for comment.

All of the districts in the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District have started before Labor Day the past two years.

Posen Superintendent Michelle Wesner said the district would start school on Sept. 1, go for three days that week, have a four-day weekend, and then continue the school year on Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day.

“We would be able to start getting everything in order that week before the long weekend,” Wesner said. “We could start teaching right when we get back, instead of having to spend time with syllabuses and handing out books, since that will be done the first week.”

The state would prefer ESDs apply for all districts within their borders, but will also allow ESDs to apply for individual K-12 districts if more than one district wants to go that route, Wesner said.

“If we hear from more toward the end of the month, we’ll look at it at the ESD level,” Huber said.

In 2005, then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed a bill requiring all school districts to start the school year after Labor Day.

However, in the past few years, the state has granted districts the option to start school before Labor Day.

The school year didn’t end until mid-June last year for most Northeast Michigan districts because they had to make up days missed earlier in the year because of snow and cold weather.

Wesner said starting before Labor Day would give the school flexibility and not have the school year going into mid-June.

“It’s the first step to make it easier for kids,” she said.

A survey was completed by staff, parents, students, and members of the Posen community last year, and over 75% supported starting the school year before the holiday, Wesner said.

Julie Goldberg can be reached at 989-358-5688 or jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jkgoldberg12.