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State Fair In The School Calendar Debate

March 7, 2014, 5:15 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

State Fair In The School Calendar Debate

It's a familiar debate across South Dakota. Some say school should start after Labor Day; others say an earlier start is better.

The debate is especially familiar in Huron because it is home to the South Dakota State Fair.

State Fair leaders want to see the grounds as full as possible leading up to Labor Day. Marketing and events coordinator Candi Briley says it would help if more schools started after the holiday.

"A lot of families look at the State Fair for their summer vacation. So it would just help maximize their time here," Briley said.

And she says it could help 4-H kids focus on their fair responsibilities, not having to juggle school at the same time.

But the State Fair isn't the only player in Huron when it comes to school calendar issue.

"Different communities have different needs to look at and those needs have affected our calendar," superintendent Terry Nebelsick said.

Nebelsick says multiple parties comprise a school calendar committee in his district.

With the State Fair in Huron, the district has always taken the event into consideration. It doesn’t have school during part of the fair and excuses students who participate. This coming school year will even start after Labor Day.

But, Nebelsick says, locally there are those who advocate for an earlier start as well.

"I would say at the state level, the legislators are hearing from their constituents all over and trying to decide what's best in the big picture for them," Nebelsick said.

So he says he respects the decisions they need to make regarding the issue. Back at the fair, Briley says she and others try to make the best of any calendar decision.

"Right now we work with school districts across the state to invite their students in on either the Thursday or Friday of the State Fair. We provide educational programing," Briley said.

Last year the fair had about a thousand students visit the fair through that educational program.

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