Ohio K-12 schools would have to hold a public hearing and vote if they want to open before Labor Day, if a bill currently in the Ohio Senate becomes law.
The Ohio Senate Education Committee will hear first testimony today on Senate Bill 34, which aims to make more public and private schools start their academic calendars later, starting in 2018-19.
Every school district in the Dayton area started between Aug. 10 and Aug. 31 this school year, with the biggest concentration coming between Aug. 15 and Aug. 25.
About half of the Miami Valley’s bigger districts actually moved their starting dates back 3 to 7 days this fall. Kettering schools, which moved their start date from Aug. 12 to Aug. 17, said feedback from parents about family summer vacations played a role in their decision.
Bills calling for school to stay within the Labor Day to Memorial Day window have been introduced in Ohio before, with legislators considering that tourism angle among their arguments.
The new bill, sponsored by Sen. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, would exempt year-round schools, summer school programs, and preparation activities for teachers and other school staff. If schools have collective bargaining agreements with staff calling for certain start dates, the new law would not take effect for them until that agreement expired.
The bill says schools would have to comply with the schedule requirements to qualify for state funding. Ohio schools currently are required to be open for a certain number of instructional hours per year, regardless of when they start and finish the school year.
There is some question how a later starting date would affect College Credit Plus high school students whose colleges start class in August.
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