Lawrence and Free State high students get an extra week of summer vacation

Students enter Free State High School in Lawrence, Kan., Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009. Educators across Kansas are concerned that Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' budget proposals would force them to take money out of their classrooms to cover higher costs in other areas, including equipment and health insurance. They're also worried that legislators will be even less generous.(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) -- Summer vacation will last a little longer this year for high school students in Lawrence.

On Thursday, Lawrence Public Schools announced the school year will start a week later at Lawrence High School and Free State High School as well as the Lawrence College and Career Center. District officials are blaming the change on “unforeseen delays” in making improvements to the facilities.

“We sincerely apologize for any challenges this change may cause our high school families,” Superintendent Dr. Anthony Lewis said in a Facebook post.

With the change, the school year for Lawrence High and Free State will no longer start on August 14 and 15. Instead, incoming freshmen will have their half-day orientation on August 20 and the first full day of classes for all students will be the next day, August 21.

The College and Career Center’s Certified Nurse Aide and Emergency Medical Science programs will now begin on August 19. Those students will complete their applications and enrollment on August 15. All other classes at the College will start on August 21.

“We want to provide the best learning environments possible for students and staff. That means ensuring that we provide safe and welcoming spaces conducive to a successful start to the school year,” Lewis continued.

While high school students will enjoy that extra week off, they are going to have to pay (slightly) for everyday for the rest of the year. The district plans to extend the school day by five minutes to make up for lost time. Classes will start at 8 a.m., rather than 8:05 a.m., with Zero Hour beginning at 7 a.m. Students who ride the bus will also have to be at the bus stop five minutes earlier. The end of the day does not change and will still be at 3:10 p.m.

“We want to thank our high school communities for their patience and understanding. We know this is unexpected and challenging. We are confident that postponing the start of school for high school students will give them the best chance for a successful back-to-school experience,” Dr. Lewis said.