As school districts develop school calendars for 2019-2020, please consider the following information.
Uniform dates for beginning and end of school year
Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 6-10-106 (a)(1)(A), in each school year, the first day of the school year for student attendance in the public elementary and secondary schools of the State of Arkansas shall be:
(i) On or after the Monday of the week in which August 19 falls;
(ii) Not earlier than August 14; and
(iii) Not later than August 26.
During the fall/winter of 2017/2018, the State Board of Education granted several Act 1240 waivers that permitted school districts to start school on August 13. Some of these waivers were for a period of five (5) years. These Act 1240 waivers did not, however, authorize districts to start the school year prior to August 13.
For clarification, other school districts may have waivers approved under law other than Act 1240 (i.e., Schools of Innovation, District Conversion or Open Enrollment Charter) that allows the district to start the school year prior to August 13.
If you have any questions about the appropriate start date for your school district, please contact Kelly McLaughlin at Kelly.McLaughlin@arkansas.gov
Delay or Early release
Pursuant to Standards for Accreditation 1-A.5, each public school district shall adopt a school calendar and provide planned instruction per day in accordance with the laws of the State of Arkansas and the rules of the Department.
1-A.5.1 Each public school shall provide a minimum of 178 days of student-teacher interaction time.
1-A.5.2 Except where otherwise allowed by law, each public school shall provide a planned instructional day that averages no less than six (6) hours per day or thirty (30) hours per week. Any day in which fewer than six (6) hours of instructional time is provided to students shall be counted as one-half (½) of a school day if at least three (3) hours of instructional time is provided to students. Any day in which fewer than three (3) hours of instructional time is provided to student shall not be counted as part of a school day.
Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 6-10-126 a superintendent may delay the start time or release early a school or schools in the school district due to emergency circumstances (as described in the code). Ark. Code Ann. § 6-10-127 provides the method by which the superintendent may make up these missed days.
A superintendent may not provide early release that is not pre-approved in the school calendar or pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 6-10-126. Falsifying attendance records may result in revocation of license as per Ark. Code Ann. § 6-17-407.