Ohio Bills would push schools to start classes after Labor Day

Two bills in the Ohio General Assembly would delay the school year from starting until after Labor Day.

Senate Bill 34 and House Bill 549 are nearly identical. They would make state education funding contingent on school districts starting the school year after the September holiday. But the bill would allow schools to opt out — and not be financially penalized — if school boards or other school governing bodies hold a public hearing at least 30 days before adopting resolutions to start before Labor Day.

Both bills allow year-around schools, summer programs and teacher preparation activities to occur before Labor Day.

The bills are each in committees in their respective chambers.

Various tourism and recreation groups support the bill. The Ohio Travel Association has presented lawmakers with polling it commissioned that showed a majority of the public supports a later school start. There is also wide support for all Ohio schools to start on the same day, the polling showed.

However, groups representing school district business administrators and Ohio’s Superintendent Association oppose the bill. They argue school start dates should be a local matter, not imposed by Columbus. They said school start dates take into account local weather and regional labor and industry needs.

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