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August 15th –Too Early?

Every year in late summer, a collective sigh issues from students around the country. With the end of July come school supply ads, which can only mean one thing: school.

The school year schedule was originally based on the growing seasons. Schools in more rural areas of the country started after Labor Day and ended in early spring, so that farms could run on schedule without children having to leave school to help, while urban schools were open almost year round–about 240 days a year. However, because most states are becoming more urbanized, the need for this agricultural schedule is decreasing, and schools are gradually pushing their start times earlier and earlier; most begin in mid-August, but some high schools in Hawaii, Indiana, and Arizona start as early as July 20.

However, not all states are in favor of starting this early. In fact, Senate Bill 34 is under consideration in the Ohio legislature, which would require all public and chartered non-public schools (SUA is a chartered non-public school) to start after Labor Day. Senate Bill 34 allows the school’s governing body to set a pre-Labor Day start date as long as a public hearing is held. The bill makes state funds for school districts contingent on compliance with the bill’s requirements, meaning that while public schools technically do not have to start after Labor Day, they will only receive state funding if they do. The bill does not propose changes to Ohio’s current 1,001 institutional hour requirement for grades 7-12. A similar bill calling for all public schools to start after Labor Day and end before June 15 was also proposed and passed in Maryland. A date has not yet been set to vote on Bill 34.

Don’t get too excited about a later start date yet, though. SUA receives no state funds, and would, as a result, pay no financial penalty for starting prior to Labor Day. Does this mean that SUA will continue to start in early August? The 2018-2019 school year will start on August 15, but changes may occur in the subsequent years.

Many students have opinions on the proposed start times, too, most of them having to do with a warmer summer. Katie Neeb ’21: “Although it would be unfortunate to be the last school on summer break, a later start and finish time would match up with the Cincinnati weather, which doesn’t warm up until later in the spring and stays warm after summer.” Marie Mechley ’21 agrees: “We will be able to have more of a summer, and school won’t start halfway through summer.” Others, however, are happy with the way the schedule is currently. “I like having all of June and July off,” says Marygrace Fagan ’21. “It’s nice having Labor Day off a few weeks into the school year.” Teachers are in favor of an early end date, too. Ms. Broo: “I think ending that late will really limit summer activities and jobs.”

As Ms. Broo implied, a later start date would mean a later end date. If we were to start school after Labor Day, school end sometime in mid-June. The possible way to end before Memorial day would be to cut mid-year vacations, such as Christmas and Easter breaks. It all comes down to this: are we willing to stay on summer vacation through August if it means staying in school through most of June? Or would we be content with getting rid of breaks if school could start later and end at the same time it does now? As for now, no one knows what schedule changes might occur, but we should all be paying attention to the outcome of Senate Bill 34, as important changes may be coming in the future.

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