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Palm Beach County superintendent recommends Aug. 31 start date for 2020-21 academic year

School year would end on June 18, 2021 under proposed new calendar
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Posted at 6:51 AM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 13:01:51-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — When the Palm Beach County School Board meets on Wednesday, Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy will recommend the 2020-21 academic year begin on Aug. 31 for students, according to district documents.

At last week's marathon school board meeting, board members approved a plan to start the year virtually for all students, and came to a consensus to delay the start of the academic year from the originally scheduled Aug. 10 date.

RELATED: Palm Beach County School Board votes to begin 2020-21 academic year with distance learning

The school board indicated a desire to begin virtual learning on Aug. 31, but Fennoy asked for another week to gather information and look at the implications of a delayed start date.

"The board's will and pleasure right now is to delay it, and it will be delayed," Fennoy told WPTV last Thursday.

According to Wednesday's school board meeting agenda, Fennoy is expected to recommend students begin their virtual learning on Monday, Aug. 31 and finish the school year on Friday, June 18.

See the proposed calendar for the 2020-21 academic year by clicking here.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Back To School

The school board will meet at 5 p.m. on Wednesday to officially vote on a start date.

After approving a start date for students, the School District of Palm Beach County will send its reopening plan to the Florida Department of Education for final approval. That plan must be submitted to the state by July 31.

The Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association released this statement about the superintendent's recommendation:

"Like pretty much everything else impacted by COVID-19, the calendar is not ideal and is only being recommended for one year because of our current situation.

The calendar does avoid pay gaps for members of the T-Bargaining Unit. This was a serious concern voiced by many CTA members. We are glad that arrangements could be made to spread out teacher preschool days to allow the normal pay-period cadence to be maintained for the upcoming contract year. Additionally, per statements made by board members during last week's school board meeting, all scheduled holidays will be maintained as previously scheduled.

Other than the late ending date for this coming year, the other concern is that time delayed at the front of the calendar and added to the back end causes a loss of instructional time before FSA and other scheduled standardized testing. At this time we have no information as to the potential for a delay to FSA, AP, AICE, industry certification, etc. testing during the upcoming academic year."