|Posted:||December 3, 2018 01:25 PM|
|From:||Representative Angel Cruz|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Require School Year to Begin after the Labor Day Holiday|
|In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation amending the Public School Code of 1949 to require that Pennsylvania school districts begin their school year no earlier than the day after Labor Day.
My legislation would require any school districts which not adhere to a year round academic calendar to begin no earlier than the day after Labor Day. A waiver to this rule may be granted by the Secretary of Education if extenuating circumstances exist, such as a natural disaster or major construction.
Currently in Pennsylvania, no uniformity exists as to when a school can begin the academic year. School calendars are determined on the local level by school boards governing the individual school districts. While I acknowledge the differences in geographic areas which make up and affect each of the more than 500 school districts across the Commonwealth, starting the school year after the Labor Day holiday is better economically for families and for Pennsylvania as a whole and can be achieved without extending the school year much further into June.
In 2006, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) issued a report on the cost to Pennsylvania’s economy due to schools starting their academic year prior to Labor Day. The LBFC found that almost $400 million could be added annually to the Commonwealth’s economy if schools were required to begin after Labor Day. Among other findings, the LBFC also reported that families across Pennsylvania would be able to see a cost savings of $4.6 million per day in child care costs if schools begin after Labor Day because the number of days off throughout the school calendar year would be fewer.
In addition to this, climate change is greatly affecting our schools. Just after the 2018-2019 academic year began, schools were required to either close or dismiss early due to heat. This will only continue to get worse. Again, by requiring schools to begin no earlier than the day after Labor Day, this situation could potentially be avoided.
If we as legislators can do something to help our struggling families financially, boost the state’s economy and create some semblance of uniformity to our massive school district system, why wouldn't we? Please join me in this commonsense legislation that Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia and Maryland have enacted and many others have proposed.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my Harrisburg office at 717-705-1925
Introduced as HB181