The questions have been debated in Kentucky for years:
Should public schools start in early August or after Labor Day?
Should the school year end by Memorial Day or in mid-June?
School districts in some states start after Labor Day, but Kentucky districts, over time, have started the year earlier and earlier.
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Many districts start during the first or second week in August, or even earlier. For example, Logan County Schools in Western Kentucky started July 29. Jackson Independent Schools in Eastern Kentucky started Aug. 3. Many other districts started last week.
In Fayette County, classes for the 2015-16 school year start Wednesday, in part because parents want graduation to occur by Memorial Day, school board chairman John Price said. Like all Kentucky districts, Fayette is required to have 170 instructional days.
It is up to individual districts to decide when to start school. But there's support in the General Assembly to change state law so all districts, except the few that have year-round classes, would have a later start date.
"Our families deserve to have their summers back, " Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said.
Thayer and state Sen. Chris Girdler, R-Somerset, said recently they would file a measure in 2016 that would prevent schools from starting classes earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 26.
The bill would allow waivers for districts missing large amounts of days because of inclement weather.
An early start date "certainly has a negative effect on our tourism economy," Thayer told the Herald-Leader last week. "It drives up energy costs at our schools" because temperatures are higher in August than September.
If approved, the legislation "will have a tremendous impact on Kentucky's tourism and agriculture industries without affecting the quality of education for our students," the legislators said in a joint statement.
"The success and availability of our state's water recreation, theme parks, golf courses and other summertime attractions are vital in improving the quality of life for families and also help support tax revenues that ultimately provide funding for our schools," they said.
The lawmakers said that in Somerset, there's a drastic difference at water parks, Lake Cumberland marinas, visitor centers and car shows when classes begin in early August. Somerset's multimillion-dollar water park shuts down Aug. 3 because the majority of its employees and many of its visitors go back to school.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo said the General Assembly has had the school-start debate off and on for years. In 2005, a Legislative Research Commission task force report outlined the pros and cons.
"Overall, I support the concept of waiting until closer to Labor Day to start school," Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said last week. "While Kentucky has made a lot of strides in giving our students the facilities they need and deserve, there are still many schools that, unfortunately, have a difficult time keeping classrooms comfortable during summer-like weather.
"As long as there is flexibility for school districts to handle weather-related issues like snow and flooding, I don't have a problem with a law that establishes both a starting and ending date for school calendars."
When Thayer introduced a similar measure during the 2015 General Assembly, it didn't get any traction. Thayer said he just wanted to get the conversation started during the last session and didn't push the issue. He said the 2016 effort would be more intense.
"Why should we turn away out-of-state tourists from a water park in August when the outdoor thermometer still reads 90 degrees?" the lawmakers' statement asked.
Georgetown has a water park owned by the city that on Aug. 5 started closing on weekdays because school was back in session. Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville cuts hours beginning the second week of August.
The lawmakers cited a 2008 Tennessee study showing that if school began after Labor Day, an additional $189 million would be generated in tourist spending.
Iowa loses an estimated $314 million in revenue during the three weeks that the state's schools are in session before Labor Day, according to a 2015 report prepared by the Travel Federation of Iowa.
The lawmakers said that in addition to improving energy costs, the bill would allow some students to avoid riding school buses as long as three hours a day in August heat.
"We strongly believe that Kentucky needs statewide continuity with our school calendar," the statement said.
Brad Hughes, a spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association, said that group's officials "absolutely believe that this has to remain a local decision."
"Local folks know the best," Hughes said.
Price said building a school calendar was complicated. School boards have to anticipate a certain number of snow days. There are holidays and other days that schools are required to close. Teachers say they want to end the school year by the end of May because students lose focus in June. Because funding is tied to average daily attendance, Fayette County has canceled school on low-attendance days, such as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Price said.
Statewide testing normally is at the end of the school year in May, he said.
"It seems like to me we are either taking the (vacation) days out of June or we are taking the days out of August," Price said.