The Sandusky and Margaretta school boards should be applauded for recently joining the Perkins school board in voting to start the 2008-09 school year after the Labor Day holiday on Sept. 1, 2008.
Not only does this make sense from a tourism perspective, something obviously vital to this area's local economy, it makes common sense to be on the same page as other school districts across the state, and nation, making the same move. Already, 11 states have enacted a law that requires a post Labor Day school start date and Ohio officials have strongly encouraged the state's school districts to follow suit.
While changing the school start date from late August to early September may seem like a minor change simply requiring students to go to class later in June, the switch does have financial and educational benefits.
Beyond saving school districts money directly on air conditioning bills by trading scheduled school days in August for early June, the move potentially increases the tax revenue brought into state coffers -- something that can't be overlooked in these challenging economic times.
It also could be argued that a later start date allows teachers the opportunity to pursue continuing education during the summer, allows families -- especially those with college students -- to spend more vacation time together and high school students the opportunity to gain valuable workplace experience during summer tourism months.
Opponents of moving the school start date back argue that school calendars shouldn't be set around economic interests such as taxes collected from the travel and tourism industry and that, depending on Ohio's winter weather, could lead to a school year that extends well into June. However, we think its foolhardy to disregard any opportunity the state has to increase tax revenue and the resulting effect those dollars have on education.
Studies have shown the change in start dates has no effect on the quality of education other than keeping kids in school because families can schedule vacations at traditional times rather than during the school year.
Ultimately, what administrators, teachers and students accomplish during the school year is much more important than when they start and end the school year.