Summer came to an early end for students in Shakopee as school got underway Monday in the southwest-metro district — two weeks before Labor Day.
The Shakopee district kicked off classes early to make way for construction on the district's high school, which is expanding to fit 3,200 students from 1,600. With heavy construction starting next summer, the district decided to start school early and end early to have more time for construction.
"This will give crews extra time next summer when there is no one in the building to do the heavy construction needed," district spokeswoman Crystal McNally said.
State law mandates that the school year begin after Labor Day, but districts can apply for a waiver with the Minnesota Department of Education to move up their start dates, either for construction or for a flexible learning schedule. Statewide, 36 districts received waivers this year, 20 of them because of construction.
A district must have at least $400,000 in construction planned to qualify for the waiver, said Josh Collins, Department of Education spokesman.
Students in the Edina School District are starting early for the second year in a row under a construction waiver next week.
Students in the Eastern Carver County School District also have a nontraditional start time this school year because of the Ryder Cup, the golf tournament expected to draw 300,000 visitors to Chaska the last week in September. Schools in the district — which includes Chanhassen, Chaska, Victoria and Carver — will start next Monday.
The district decided to cancel school the week of Sept. 26 to Sept. 30, during the tournament. During that week, the PGA will use Chaska High School for volunteer training and shuttle parking.
Many parents will be using that time to get out of town, avoid the crowds and take a summer break in the middle of September.
Michele Fazi, who has three children in the district, said the vast majority of her friends will be out of town with their kids during the week of the Ryder Cup.
"I would be in favor of this every year if we got a week off," Fazi said.
For students in Shakopee, starting early leaves less time for the State Fair, which runs from Thursday to Labor Day.
Ryan Thorman, a parent of a first-grade student, said he spoke to his wife about when the family can make time for the fair.
"We will still go to the State Fair," he said. "We will just have to go earlier to beat the rush of the crowd."