Georgia Senate Committee Attempts to Create a Later Start For Schools


Sophie Peck

Summer Swing: Sophomore Ahtziri Bustamante celebrates the later school start date, meaning extra summer for all.

Public schools in Georgia are notorious for their early-August start dates, cutting summer to an abrupt stop while neighboring states and schools soak up the sun all the way to Labor Day. The 2019-2020 APS school calendar pushed back the unusually early date by two weeks to August 12, but many students and parents are still left unsatisfied. A federal Georgia study committee made up of state senators, school officials, and other government workers are exploring the idea for a universal Georgia calendar which would suggest a start date closer to Labor Day.

The 181 school districts around the state have varying start dates. Fifteen of those districts went back to school in late July, and two districts, Webster County and Murray County, went back after Labor Day. The most popular choice among the majority of the districts was the dreaded July 1 start. This committee of Georgia senators wants to create one statewide start date, replacing the mismatched calendars of the many school districts.

Starting school after Labor Day would allow for a longer summer, something that those in the travel industry and other businesses would benefit from. The committee, which is led by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-51), is trying to evaluate the positive impact that a later start would have on those industries without compromising the required 180 days schools must be in session. Being in school at the tail end of a hot Southern summer demands higher energy and maintenance bills to keep the building in the right condition for students. Sophomore Dorian McElrone is opposed to the idea of returning to school after a Labor Day. “Starting school later means getting out in June and sacrificing some of our week long breaks, something that isn’t so appealing,” she said.

Sophomore Zoe Mock voiced her opinion on the hotly-contested matter. “We should start after Labor Day so that we don’t get out of school in the afternoon when it’s a sweltering 90 degrees,” she said.

Mandating the same start date for all districts is a huge decision that many people are still unsure about. School boards and PTA’s across the state are hesitant to give up their individual rights to decide what day students go back to school. It’s up to this study committee to review all the options and decide whether we trade in sunny days at the beach for stressful days at school in August or closer to September.