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Backers of later school start in ND to file signatures for ballot measure

BISMARCK – Sponsors of a proposed ballot measure that if approved would force North Dakota school districts to start school after Labor Day say they have more than enough signatures to get the measure on the Nov. 4 ballot.

A post Tuesday on the Facebook page “Start ND School after Labor Day” indicated the sponsors will file more than 15,300 signatures with the secretary of state’s office today.

They need 13,452 valid signatures to put the issue to a statewide vote.

Supporters say the change would spare students from hot classrooms on late-summer days in schools with no air conditioning and also help families with their end-of-summer vacations. Most North Dakota schools begin classes in late August.

A state Department of Public Instruction official has said the department believes districts should be allowed to set their own school calendars.

The November ballot already contains five ballot measures, and signatures for two more are under review. The school measure could push the total to eight measures if all are approved for the ballot.

State lawmakers previously placed four measures on the ballot, and a shared-parenting initiative was approved for the ballot last month. Sponsors of a proposed constitutional amendment to create a Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks fund and trust submitted signatures Monday for Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s review. Jaeger’s office also is reviewing signatures for a measure to change North Dakota’s pharmacy ownership law.

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