August 20, 2014

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Lorain County Fair Board says changing date not an option

Libby Dvorak, 11, of Wakeman, shows her hog at the market auction with Lily Dowdell, 11, of Rochester, at the 2013 Lorain County Fair. The fair board says changing the date of the fair to accommodate earlier school start times is not an option. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

Libby Dvorak, 11, of Wakeman, shows her hog at the market auction with Lily Dowdell, 11, of Rochester, at the 2013 Lorain County Fair. The fair board says changing the date of the fair to accommodate earlier school start times is not an option. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

LAGRANGE — Keystone Board of Education members and several parents discussed petitioning the Lorain County Fair to change fair dates so the district could begin school earlier this year.

Lorain County Fair Board leaders said that’s not an option.

Charisse Nikel, office manager for the Lorain County Fair, said the fair board was contacted by the school district Tuesday in regard to the issue, but the fair board does not have control of the schedule.

“The fair dates really can’t be moved because they’re all set by the Department of Agriculture,” she said. “Our fair dates are always the week before Labor Day.”

Nikel said the Department of Agriculture sets the dates to prevent competition between fairs near each other.

The proposal to start the school year earlier was made because of state-mandated tests, which Keystone Curriculum Director David Kish said would be difficult for students to pass without more preparation.

The proposal drew criticism from some parents and 4-H members, however. About 12 percent of the district’s students are involved in the program, and 4-H members are required to work throughout the fair on their various projects.

Wellington Schools Superintendent John Nolan said while the district has considered shortening holiday breaks to prepare for the tests, it is not feasible to start school during the fair.

The Lorain County Fair, which takes place in Wellington, brings in too much traffic, he said. In addition, about 25 percent of Wellington’s students are involved in 4-H and 20 percent in Future Farmers of America.

“As a former farmer and a former FFA adviser, it’s very important to me,” Nolan said. “For a lot of families, that’s their family vacation.”

Although the Lorain County Fair Board will not change the dates, Nikel said a representative of the Lorain County Fair will attend Monday night’s meeting at Keystone High School. The district will discuss various calendar proposals during the 6 p.m. meeting.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

  • Bill Suggs

    A couple of things I’d like to point out about the
    article. We all know there is no way the fair board will change the date, and
    the reason a fair board director will be at the meeting next week is because Keystone’s Superintendent invited him to come so everyone could all be part of the conversation. There was NO discussion of petitioning the fair board at the meeting Monday.

    The Chronicle Telegram is doing what newspapers do to
    drum up a story. The meeting Monday night was a very positive meeting with good dialogue, and I’m certain next Monday’s meeting will be the same. Keystone will come up with a solution that is good for everyone involved.

    If you have any questions rather than post about what you may or may not know contact the school at 440.355.5131, or email them. They have been great at informing people why this is even being discussed at all. You should also plan on attending one or both of the meeting s next week as they will be very informative.

  • Doug Hauser

    Call me strange if you want, but , while attending and competing at a fair is an experience, an education is much more important. That being said, I would also like to hear exactly how 5 days is going to make such a HUGE difference in testing scores.

    • Bill Suggs

      Come to the meetings, or one of the meetings. The new assessments the state legislators have mandated are mind boggling. Schools have no choice. A seven part kindergarten assessment? Over 20 hours of testing for a nine year old? Wow! Those people in Columbus have gone off the deep end. Balancing that while honoring traditions like the fair will be a challenge – especially for schools that have county fairs in August and September.

      • Tommy Peel

        I talked to a first grade teacher yesterday, she is going to retire at the end of the year. She told me that the state mandates and all the extra paperwork is interfering with her ability to properly teach the kids. She said that politics has entered the classroom and it isn’t good for the students.

  • Mark B

    Those in 4 Hh could be given their assignments for that week and they could do them during their off hours and in the evenings, would that not be part of the Farming learning deal , some farmers work from sun up to sun down its not a easy job. Doing a little extra work through out the year should be more than enough time to make up a weeks worth of assignments.

    • laurel

      My kids were in 4-H from 1995-2003. Always juggled school and fair, we never missed fair, got assignments from school, it all worked out.

  • Charisse Nikel

    I said the fair is ALWAYS two Mondays before Labor Day – not the week before. If ever quotes were accurate in these articles.

  • MacysMama

    I took my kids out of school for kids day @ the fair this year. In fact, it was their first day of school. I will more than likely do it again this year. I don’t understand why they don’t start school later, perhaps after Labor Day, like they used to. It is usually hotter at the end of August & 1st week of Sept. then the first 2 wks. of June and not all schools in this county are air conditioned. Most are probably not. It just makes more sense to start later.

    • Charisse Nikel

      I totally agree with that – the weather the end of May/beginning of June is nowhere near as nice (usually) as the end of August. Kids used to go to school until the second week of June – I don’t understand why the teachers want to get out earlier and earlier….and go back mid-August. Geez….last year we had the warmest days the second week of September when it was in the mid-90′s!

      • Laurie

        The weather can be very uncomfortable at the end of summer, and KES not having air conditioning is a separate concern, but a valid one. However, the testing will be mid-school year, not at the end. Extending the year longer in the summer will not benefit the children as far as additional test preparation time. The point of the discussion and meetings is to get the children more time to learn the materials and test taking techniques that the state will be forcing upon them.

  • Simon Jester

    There isn’t a single good reason for school here to begin before labor day.