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TJ Jerke, Forum News Service, Published September 09 2013

Group files petition for later start to N.D. school year

BISMARCK - The group pushing to start North Dakota’s public schools after Labor Day is one step closer to putting the idea up for a statewide vote.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger received the group’s proposed petition title Monday along with the required 25 sponsoring committee members.

Committee members are scattered around the state from Bismarck to Minot, Fargo, Grand Forks and Dickinson.

Jaeger and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem have five to seven business days - until Sept. 18 - to approve the petition title, which summarizes the proposed measure and is included on the group’s petition when members seek out signatures.

Once approved, the group will have one year to collect the required 13,452 signatures needed to place it on the ballot.

The group already has said it wants to place the initiated measure on the November 2014 general election ballot, which will require it to submit the signatures by Aug. 6, 2014.

The group wants school to start after Labor Day as more parents express concern about hot late-summer temperatures during the first week of school and to allow families to enjoy the weather during the last week in August, when many North Dakota schools return to classes.