Board members briefly discussed Monday the possibility of allowing students to start classes a week earlier than the rest of the district.
Ultimately the board approved the 2012-13 and 2013-14 calendars favored by the majority of parents in a recent , which probed whether parents would prefer an earlier or later start date.
In the approved 2012 calendar, classes will begin Thursday, Aug. 23, which falls in line with the rest of the state. This year classes began Aug. 18.
Just seven school districts begin earlier than Aug. 23, said Ames School District Superintendent Tim Taylor. One of them is neighboring Gilbert School District. Gilbert students would go back to school Aug. 16 next year, if a draft calendar is approved. There, high school students take their semester finals before winter break, something that some would like to see here at Ames High School.
One board member asked if starting high school a week earlier would be possible, but that would increase transportation costs and might cause some problems for staff shared between the middle and high schools, district staff and board members said.
The extra week would have allowed students to take finals before break and leave Advanced Placement students with less extra time at the end of the year. AP class tests usually come the second week in May, so students go to AP classes that are technically over until the year ends, board member David Putz said.
Next year's late start of Aug. 23 means students will return to school after the first varsity football game of the year on Aug. 17.
Ames High School Principal Spence Evans said football practice begins in July and several athletic teams and the marching band start practicing before the official start of the year. Volleyball, cross country and golf teams start practice during summer break as well.
Board member Mike Espeset said the discussion would give the board something to consider in the future. Both calendars were approved 7-0. School is scheduled to start on Aug. 22 in the 2013-14 school year.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Gilbert's start date due to incorrect information provided to Ames Patch. Gilbert School District plans to approve its calendar March 19.