Students in the Sherman Independent School District may experience a late start to the 2020-2021 school year. District officials are proposing that the first day of school be set for Aug. 31 to allow more time for the district to transition to the new Sherman High School site.

With the tightened schedule, Tyson Bennett, assistant superintendent of finance and operation, proposed that the start date for the school year be shifted to August 31 to give staff and district officials an additional 19 calendar days for school set up. This change in date will not impact the final day of school and Bennett said students will not need to make up the days at the end of the school year.

Bennett said the district is still slated to complete the construction of the new project by August 2020. This timetable has been tightened significantly by weather delays that currently have the project about 65 days behind schedule.

“We are not saying we are not able to start next year,” Bennett said. “We actually have a path, and we've talked in the last few weeks with our construction manager. We have a path right now.”

District officials and members of the board of trustees discussed the possible change to the school calendar during an update to the district's 2020 transition plan. The school year will mark significant changes to the district, with the opening of the new high school, the transition of the new high school to serve as the district's second middle school, and a shift to an elementary-middle-high school model.

Since the start of construction, the site has seen about 65.36 inches of rainfall within 161 days. Mitigation efforts have been able to offset some of the impacts, said Lee Thomas, senior project manager for the project.

The district can set back the opening of the school year by front loading school development days in August instead of dispersing them throughout the year, Bennett said. This would not impact holidays that students and staff traditionally enjoy off.

These changes would extend throughout the district instead of affecting just the high school level in order to keep all grade levels on the same schedule for families with students on multiple school levels.

Sherman ISD Superintendent David Hicks stressed that the district is only considering its options at this point, and no decision has officially been made. The next semester will be spent looking into these options before making a decision sometime in the coming months.

“If you don't ever ask the what-if's, we don't get deep into the plan and have open discussions — we won't examine every option,” he said.