CLEVELAND – The closure of dozens of local schools without air conditioning due to high heat indexes Thursday prompted renewed calls to start the school year later.
“It’s hot, it’s muggy, kids are irritated. A cooler atmosphere makes them relax better,” said parent Tonja Thomas.
An Ohio Senate bill introduced in August would require public and private schools to start after Labor Day, when weather is typically cooler than in mid-August.
“I think it’s big on tourism, huge for families, but more importantly for children to learn. I’d rather learn on a 70-degree day the first week in June than a 97-degree day in the middle of August,” said Republican Senate Majority Leader Tom Patton, of Strongsville, who is co-sponsoring the legislation.
Under the proposal, sponsored and introduced by North Ridgeville Republican Gayle Manning, local school boards could still vote to start the school year before Labor Day if they hold a public hearing at least 30 days before adoption of the school calendar.
“They can opt out. All we require is them to meet with families to let them know why they’re opting out and get feedback from them,” Patton said.
The proposal also excludes districts that have a start date set by current collective bargaining agreements.
The proposal would take effect in the 2017-2018 school year, if passed. A similar measure failed to gain traction in 2012.
Current state law allows each district to decide its start date, which has been creeping earlier in many districts that want to complete first semester before winter break and have more time for students to prepare for standardized tests.
The Ohio School Boards Association has said it supports current law and that a one size-fits-all solution is not appropriate.
Have we seen an increase in hot and humid days during the first 10 days of September/early days of the school year?
FOX 8 Meteorologist Scott Sabol let us know the list of instances where the “feels like” temperature was at or above 95 degrees on a weekday:
2016: 96, 100 (Wednesday and Thursday of this week)
1973: 97, 97
1959: 97, 97
1953: 108, 105, 105, 98