Proposed Ohio bill would start public schools after Labor Day

Sen. Gayle Manning, a former teacher who sponsored the bill, said it’s just too hot to begin class in August

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – For many Ohio students, summer is officially over. But, summer could last a little longer in the future if a bill pushing school start dates into September becomes law.

Senate Bill 34 aims to make the first day back to school after Labor Day. If it were in effect now, that means your student wouldn’t be back in class until after September 4.

“The teachers are sending us the indoor thermometers: 85, 90 degrees in August,” said Senator Gayle Manning, the bill’s primary sponsor.

Sen. Manning, a former teacher, said it’s just too hot to begin class in August, especially in schools that have do not have air conditioning.

“That’s the main reason we’re doing this is just the outcry of parents and teachers worrying about those little kids that are sitting in these classrooms,” she said. “How much are you learning under those conditions?”

Grandmother Linda Yarrington agrees.

“If you’ve got to go a little bit later in June, far better than going earlier in August,” said Yarrington. “I would hate to see them have to go if they had to go someplace that didn’t have air conditioning.”

Sen. Manning said pushing the start dates later into the year would also help boost tourism.

“They don’t get to take that family vacation, which would certainly help with tourism throughout the state of Ohio,” she said.

The Ohio School Board Association opposes the legislation, citing superintendents concerned about having as much time in the classroom as possible, before standardized testing begins in the spring. However, it said the bill is better than those before it, which includes an opt-out written into the legislation.

In order to opt-out, Sen. Manning said local schools would have to hold a public meeting and let parents know 30 days before setting the calendar.

“One of the things I hear is that they want local control. They want to be able to make that decision and I’ve heard that loud and clear,” said Sen. Manning. “The parents can come in and weigh in. Do we want to start before or after? And their reasons for that.”

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