Proposed Ohio law would force schools to start after Labor Day

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A proposed law in the Ohio Senate could force schools to delay classes until after Labor Day in the future.

Senate Bill 346 was introduced by Ohio Senator Gayle Manning of Huron and Lorain counties. The former elementary school teacher believes pushing back the first day for public and private schools would help kids pay attention more because they wouldn’t be sitting in hot classrooms.

“Our kids are in classes, it’s 90-degrees, 95-degrees in there, and they’re not learning anything anyway because of the heat,” Manning told WJW-TV in Cleveland.

Columbus City Schools, for instance, currently has 51 schools without central air conditioning. To keep students cool, there are instead several fans running plus coolers filled with ice cold bottled water for students to use.

“We are sweaty and we are in the heat but everybody has been highly resilient,” Columbus Gifted Academy principal Amanda Reidenbaugh told NBC4. “I’ve heard no complaints from our students.”

Manning also tells Cleveland.com that the bill would allow students to work more hours at summer jobs, which would be a boost to the economy by allowing seasonal businesses to stay open longer.

School districts currently have the power to set their own calendars. Manning’s bill would require all schools to open after Labor Day starting with the 2017-18 school year. Individual districts would still have the option to opt-out.

“A school board can decide to opt out. But they have to have a public hearing at least 30 days beforehand so that parents are aware and they can weigh in on the situation,” Manning explained to WJW-TV.

The Ohio School Board’s Association opposes the idea, which was also introduced unsuccessfully in 2012 to the Ohio legislature. It says the current start dates allow districts more time to prepare students for standardized testing. It also allows the first semester to be completed before winter break.

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