School Calendars and Flexibility

School Calendars and Flexibility

School Start Date

Berrien County school superintendents would appreciate the flexibility to begin their school year prior to Labor Day without having to apply for a waiver from the Michigan Department of Education. With additional required instruction hours, the continual need for professional development and with unpredictable weather in our state, having the flexibility to start school prior to Labor Day is necessary to accommodate complex scheduling.

Berrien County superintendents also request local districts have latitude regarding how to best assign staff to prepare for the school year. Limiting the days of the week that staff members are permitted to work causes additional hardships for school administrators when it comes to scheduling.


After a harsh winter that prompted the Governor to declare a state of emergency, many schools across the state were forced to apply for waivers to excuse weather-related closures. The waiver allowed schools to avoid penalties for falling short of state-mandated instruction time requirements. Should schools have more flexibility regarding their calendars in the future, waivers would not be needed because districts could build in additional instruction time. The additional instruction time could be based on what was best for students and that specific community (high tourism areas, local industry needs, community college start dates, etc.).


To further allow for improved scheduling opportunities, Berrien County school administrators support the elimination for school year and calendars as subjects of bargaining.

Call to Action

  • Support more local control for school districts when it comes to managing day-to-day operations.
  • Include the school calendar as a “prohibited subject” when bargaining contracts.

Did you know?

Of the 15 school districts in Berrien County, nearly all of them have expressed interest in a pre-Labor Day start.

Current Legislation

Bill Number
SB 113, HB 4206,
HB 4250
Provides exemption to School Aid penalties regarding minimum instruction days during inclement weather or state of emergency.
HB 4087
Modifies school start dates and provides restrictions when school is in session.
HB 4368 and 4369
Eliminates school start date restrictions.
 HB 4626 and 4627 Creates a new classification of schools so districts can apply to the Michigan Department of Education to be a public innovative district, which allows them to waive state restrictions, such as exemption from day and hour requirements.
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