The Hemet Unified School District approved a school calendar and Monday, Aug. 20 will be the first day of next school year.

At its last meeting, the board asked for new calendar options from staff. Last night, the board chose the Aug. 20 start date, but there was considerable discussion and some support for the alternative of starting school on Sept. 4, after labor Day.

Trustee Paul Bakkom urged his colleagues to choose this option. He argued that the earlier start was harder for younger students who needed more time to acclimate to a structured school environment. This point was continuation of the board’s discussion about seeking a waiver to waive the transitional kindergarten for the 2012-13 year, which was reluctantly approved.

In addition, Bakkom felt the district would save some money and energy avoiding the August afternoon temperatures and replacing them in June.

While there was some support for his motion, the board finally agreed with the August start.

The last day of school will be Friday May 31, 2013. During the year, several weeks of recess are scheduled, beginning with Thanksgiving, Presidents’ Days in February, Spring Recess in April and the traditional Winter or Christmas Recess in December. The latter will be two weeks, Dec. 24 through Jan. 4.

The board also approved a waiver request to the State Department of Education to increase its class size cap.