Collier parents want to change school start date

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 18:24:37-05

Many parents in Collier County are taking action against the school board's decision to start the upcoming school year on August 10th, a week earlier than it started in 2015.

Hundreds have signed a petition calling for the district to push back the start date to August 15th. 

The Collier County Public School Board approved the calendar for the next school year at Tuesday's meeting. Among other things, the schedule gives students the entire week of Thanksgiving off. But Julie Koester, who has two teens attending school in the district, said that doesn't work for many working parents.

"It doesn't make sense to me to add the days at the front end, when we don't want the days added at Christmas and Thanksgiving," Koester said. "Those are incredibly difficult to have to manage."

Koester said that the early end of summer break could also be a problem for students attending academic camps, some of which run past the 10th. So she signed a petition on to appeal to get the start date moved to August 15th.

School board member Kelly Lichter told Fox 4 that she is meeting with school district counsel to try to get the issue back on the school board's agenda. Other districts in Florida, such as Lee County Public Schools, will start on August 10th, but Lichter said that she's hearing from many parents who don't want Collier County Public Schools to follow suit.

"I think at the end of the day, we have to make decisions that are best for our people right here in Collier County," Lichter said.

School board chair Julie Sprague said that the main goal of the earlier start date is to finish mid-term exams before the winter break, but added that is sensitive to what the parents of the district want.

Under Florida law, school may not begin any earlier than August 10th.