Classes will come early in 2011-12, when students at Riverside-Brookfield High School start the new school year in mid-August. The first day at RB for the new school year will be Tuesday, Aug.17, a week earlier than this year.

Earlier this month the District 208 school board approved the school calendar for the 2011-12 school year. In return for starting school nearly three weeks before Labor Day, RB students will be out for the summer before Memorial Day. RB’s last day of school and graduation is scheduled to be held on Friday, May 25, 2012.

Graduation night in 2012 will be on the same weekend as the boys state track and field championships, which will be held at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

The RB school board left open the possibility of holding graduation on another date if enough people are concerned about that conflict, but school board President James Marciniak indicated that he didn’t think it would be a good idea to have graduation on the day before Memorial Day.

“The main goal of the calendar is to get our semesters even on either side of the holiday break,” Marciniak said. “That winds up with the end of the school year coming right at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. … So we just plunked the graduation date in there where it would normally come, on the last day of school.”

John Keen, the parent of a member of the RB boys track team and a candidate for the RB school board, said that he doesn’t think graduation should conflict with athletic events. Keen suggested holding graduation on Sunday, May 27, the day before Memorial Day.

“All I know is the athletic director said that on Sunday there would be no conflict with students in terms of athletics,” Keen said. “To me, we shouldn’t inconvenience any athlete in any state event and make them choose, and that’s basically what they’re doing. That’s more important than someone’s Memorial Day plans.”

Marciniak said the board is willing to rethink the date of graduation based on reactions from parents.

“We’d welcome input,” Marciniak said. “But whatever day you pick, someone is going to be unhappy with it.”

District 208 Interim Superintendent David Bonnette floated the possibility of holding graduation on Thursday, May 24, 2012.

This year RB started school on Aug. 23 and the last official day of school and graduation is scheduled to be Friday, June 3.

RB is starting school in mid-August next year in order to better balance the days in school for the between the first and second semester and still hold first semester final exams before Christmas. This year there were 12 more school days in the second semester than in the first semester. Next year the difference will be only five days.

“It pretty well balances out the first and second semesters,” Bonnette said.

Because RB has many semester-long courses, it is important for the semesters to be of nearly equal length, Bonnette said.

“We’re moving to a more collegiate style calendar,” Bonnette said.

Next year, Lyons Township High School will hold its first semester final exams before Christmas, a switch in the calendar for LT.

But LT students will start school a week later than their counterparts at RB. Lyons Township students will start school on Aug. 22 and have first-semester final exams from Dec. 20 through Dec. 22.

Both RB and LT will begin winter break on Dec. 23. RB students will return for the second semester on Jan. 9 next year, while LT students get one more day off and return on Tuesday Jan. 10.

LT’s last day of school is scheduled for May 31, and its commencement will be held on Sunday, June 3.

Area elementary schools will continue to start the school year in late August.

Brookfield-LaGrange Park District 95 will hold its first day of classes on Aug. 24. Riverside Elementary District 96 will start classes on Aug. 30 and Komarek School’s first day of school for students will be Aug. 31.