Janesville School District Superintendent Steve Pophal has been asking around: What are schools doing for Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

After questioning residents, school staff and others, he discovered the vast majority favored making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a no-school day for students and staff.

On Tuesday, the school board approved changing the 2018-19 school calendar to honor the slain civil rights leader.

School board member Ben Dobson said he thought it was “extremely important” to honor King with a day off.

“I understood the purpose of it when it wasn’t a day off,” board member Greg Ardrey said, “but what we said we would do and what we did didn’t sync up.”

One of the original reasons for holding classes that day was so schools could have special ceremonies and opportunities for children to learn about King. That didn’t always happen, Ardrey said.

Instead of attending school Jan. 21, 2019, students will attend school Dec. 21, 2018. No class time will be lost.

Fourteen of the 26 surrounding school districts have Martin Luther King Jr. Day off, said Scott Garner, assistant superintendent of administrative and human services.

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