Summer break seems to get increasingly shorter for Ohio students, as many schools are already back in session in early or mid-August. Now, some Northeast Ohio lawmakers are trying to delay the start of school statewide.
“I’ve had parents who have come up to me and said, ‘Can’t you do something about this because they’re starting way too early and we don’t have a voice in this,'” said Ohio State Senator Gayle Manning.
Manning, of North Ridgeville, a former teacher is the sponsor of Senate Bill 34. It would generally require public and charter schools in Ohio to begin their school years after Labor Day.
“I have two children in Rocky River and they go back to school next Wednesday the 22nd and we feel like that’s ok,” said parent Melinna Derrick.
“Starting school early for some is, depending on the age, is good, I mean for the younger ones, it gets them active back in school; I think it’s good. For the older ones, I think for like the high school, later is good because they get to do their summer jobs,” said parent Veronica Dominguez.
“These summer jobs really have meaning of value of helping them sort out as to what they enjoy, what they’re good at, what they’re not going to want to pursue, so it helps them with a better career choice,” said Ohio State Representative Steven Arndt.
Arndt of Port Clinton, is sponsoring a similar bill in the Ohio House. Both lawmakers say their bills require school boards to discuss the issue with taxpayers.
“After 30 days of having that discussion, they can opt out; if they choose not to — the issue really is that most people are not having that kind of conversation,” Arndt said.
“There’s a lot of schools that don’t have air conditioning right now. It’s also an economic thing. Tourism has increased immensely in Michigan, and they make millions of more dollars, which helps with our tax base, talking to the Farm Bureau, where they have said, we can’t find anybody to pick our crops,” said Manning.
Some superintendents feel an early start date equals more instruction for state testing.
“We’re working with the Ohio Department of Education right now; we’d like to have an amendment that pushes the tests back,” Manning said.
Both bills have been discussed in committees and the lawmakers expect to bring them up in both chambers in the fall. They suggest parents and taxpayers contact their state lawmakers to let them know their opinion on the issue.