Starting Later in the School Year

By now, thousands of students across America have been settling into a new school year. The once shiny and new Ticonderoga pencils have already been lost and trampled on, friends have claimed lunch tables, and teachers are getting back to updating PowerSchool. However, there are still school districts with students that haven’t gone back to school yet, leaving many pencils unsharpened, and even more heads turning.

In a sampling of 2015-2016 school start dates done by CNN, states like Washington, South Dakota and Michigan start either Sept. 8 or 9, an almost two-week difference between Ledyard High School’s Aug. 26 start date. And while Washington, South Dakota and Michigan are three states that are hard to visualize or form some background knowledge on, our very own regional neighbors — New York, Massachusetts and even Maine — all have later start dates than Connecticut.

It is nice getting back into the swing of things and a few extra days toward the end of August never hurt anybody (namely, the kids that waited ‘til the night before the first day of school to finish summer homework). And if anybody’s wondering about the age old debate of to-start-before-Labor-Day-or-not-to-start-before-Labor-Day, it all boils down to one thing: money.

In a report by Forbes Magazine, the state of Maryland “voted to push the start of public school until after Labor Day,” citing tourism as a driving force behind that decision. Peter Franchot, Maryland’s comptroller, estimates a whopping $7.7 million will be added to the state’s tax revenue. But Maryland isn’t the only state getting clever with its public school start dates. Ohio and Virginia have it down to a science: “Later start dates tend to equal more family vacations at Labor Day. More family vacations mean more dollars paid out. More dollars paid out equals more tax revenue,” according to the Forbes report.

If you’re a teacher or a student: welcome back to a new school year! If you’re a politician, I hope Ledyard High School starting before Labor Day didn’t deflate Connecticut’s tax revenue too much.

Leah Sheltry, Assistant Editor in Chief 

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