Two years after stopping the practice of starting school after Labor Day, the Santa Barbara School Districts  board on Thursday will consider an even earlier kickoff for the 2008-09 calendar — Aug. 18.

The idea is to align the now-separate schedules of the elementary district, which exists within the city of Santa Barbara, and the secondary district, which stretches from Goleta to Montecito.

Other proposed changes include:

• Paring the elementary district’s current three-week winter break to two weeks.
•  Timing the winter break (Dec. 22 to Jan. 2) so it coincides with the end of the first semester in the junior and high schools, with the exception of San Marcos High, which is on the block schedule.
• Giving both the elementary and secondary schools a two-week spring break, from March 30 to April 10.
• Moving the first day of school to a later date for the year-round schools, to Aug. 4.

Thursday’s special meeting begins at 4 p.m., but the board isn’t scheduled to discuss the calendar changes—which are officially part of negotiations with the teachers union—until 7:30 p.m.