Georgia should change school year calendar, committee says

January 3, 2019 | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A state Senate committee that has a majority of legislators and bureaucrats representing business and tourism interests unanimously approved recommendations Thursday that include starting and ending the public school year later.

The Senate Study Committee on Evaluating the School Year Calendar of Georgia Public Schools foray into the issue has drawn opposition from some school districts and education organizations who believe districts should decide when the school year begins and ends, not the state. Committee members said Thursday they were aware of those concerns and recommended a range of dates — no earlier than seven to 10 days before Labor Day — for the start date. They recommended ending around June 1. They described the recommendation as “guard rails for local control.”

Most of Georgia’s 181 school districts begin the school year in the first or second week of August. A few begin in late July. Many classes end the third week of May. Committee members said reasons for starting later include the cost to cool classrooms during the hottest days of summer, concerns about students riding hot buses, better aligning the schedule for students taking college courses and making it easier for students to work summer jobs. Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, who sponsored the resolution calling for the committee and led it, said 13 other states have similar laws.

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