This week's 'Ask Evan' question comes from Dana G. She asks, "I just realized my daughter will begin school in just three weeks. Why doesn't school start after Labor Day like it used to?"
Many school districts in Pennsylvania begin the new school year in the third week of August and very few these days after Labor Day. There has been an effort for several years to change that. In 2017 for example, some lawmakers sponsored House Bill 73, which would push back the start of school to after Labor Day.
The bill was introduced as a way to ensure that Pennsylvania families get all the benefits of a full, traditional summer vacation while not negatively impacting the education of students. That particular bill never got out of committee to get any debate or vote on the statehouse floor.
Lawmakers who support it say starting the school year in August costs taxpayers additional money. First, the additional costs to cool school buildings during the heat of August. Secondly, they say it hurts tourism which is the states` second largest industry.
The Labor Day weekend is a big holiday of tourism and family vacation time. When school is in session business dies off. Shop owners and the state also get less summer revenue. It also cuts families opportunities for late summer vacations. Those against the start date change are primarily the school systems, the state teachers union and the school board association. They say the mid-August start is necessary in order to adequately prepare students for upcoming PSSA tests. They also say the change would push more school district schedules into late June and negatively impact summer programs.
So once again, there doesn't appear to be any new movement to change the back to school timeframe, and students this year will be heading back to school in a couple of weeks.
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