SUMMIT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Will August be the new September for some New Jersey students? There’s a debate in one school district over whether or not to start class before Labor Day.
The windows on Summit Middle School were cracked open Wednesday because of a lack of no air conditioning. It’s one reason why some parents oppose a proposal by the superintendent to start school in August.
“My children all came home wiped out, lethargic because of it, because the school’s so hot,” parent Donna Fisk told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
A petition on change.org has more than 370 signatures to stop the proposed change.
“I can’t imagine kids going to school before Labor Day,” parent Shelly McManus added. “Kids have such a small summer as it is… Kids need to be kids, they need to have a little bit of summer.”
The Summit School District says one key reason for the plan is the number of instructional days prior to advanced placement (AP) testing in the spring. The board says the new calendar would give two extra days before AP tests.
“To change the entire community for one small group would be a disservice to the rest of the community,” Fisk said.
The district also says in the 2017-18 school year, six snow days were used but only four were built into the school year. One day had to be added at the end of the year. Another was taken away from spring break, when many teachers and families had vacations already planned.
Depending on how many days are used, the year could end between June 10 and June 18. Residents argued that this will cause a problem for working parents, as camps don’t open until the end of June.
Superintendent June Chang says the school board will continue to listen to all stakeholders before crafting a new school calendar. There is expected to be a vote on a drafted calendar on Oct. 18.