The first day of classes for the 2019-2020 school year in Brighton will be the earliest in many years.

School will start with a full day of classes on Monday, Aug. 26th. In recent years, school in Brighton and other Livingston County school districts had typically started in early September. That was the case last year, when classes began on Sept. 4th, the day after Labor Day. But, with the state mandate of 180 days of instruction, it’s a different ball game now. Superintendent Greg Gray says the mandate forces school districts either to start the school year before Labor Day or extend it to mid-June.

The state actually upped the number of required school days from 175 to 180 back in the 2016-17 academic year, but Brighton was locked in by a 5-year contract with the teachers’ union that specified a 175-day school year. However, the district was in compliance with the requirement of 1,080 classroom hours of instruction per year, and therefore was allowed to continue with 175 days of instruction as long as the 1,080-hour requirement was met. The situation was complicated this year by the inordinately large number of snow days due to a brutal winter. Students in grades 7 through 12 had 7 snow days, while those in grades JK (junior kindergarten) through 6 had eight snow days. When special legislation was passed in Lansing and signed by the governor in May, school districts — some of which had 10 snow days or more — were “forgiven” having to make up those days. That allowed Brighton to end its school year on June 7th as originally scheduled. All five K-12 public school districts in Livingston County will be starting the fall term on Aug. 26th this year. In Brighton, Gray says a full calendar with the starting and ending times for the school day will soon be e-mailed to district parents. (TT)