Hot weather causes some districts to consider starting later - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Hot weather causes some districts to consider starting school after Labor Day

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Many parents have contacted us over the past couple weeks, asking why school districts start before Labor Day, when many buildings lack air conditioning.

In Iowa, some districts might consider starting later but it may have nothing to do with the weather.

These kids are all smiles. After all, classes are dismissed. Canceled on account of the heat.

West Lyon Community School District superintendent Jim Hargens said "we have our winters here too. And welcome to the Midwest. We have four seasons. All four of our seasons bring forth weather that is always unpredictable from tornadoes in the springtime to fall and the hot weather like we're seeing right now to our winter storms."

The hot weather has some asking why start school in the dog days of summer. And West Lyon superintendent Jim Hargens has an answer for that.

"It's part of living in the Midwest. And as a school district, we handle each of those seasons the best that we can in dealing with what mother nature is going to hand us as far as those conditions go in those seasons," superintendent Hargens said.

Iowa's governor asked the state board of education to consider stricter requirements to starting classes before labor day.

"They simply looked at that and thought this should not be part of their agenda, that's it's not under their jurisdiction, that should be something left up to the legislators and up to the local control, local interest of communities," superintendent Hargens said.

And some communities have another reason besides the heat to start classes later.

"I know here in Iowa that when the governor asked the state board of education to take a look at it, it was in response to the tourism industry here in Iowa to the governor," superintendent Hargens said.

Hargens said it's been their tradition to start classes in August. He said what other districts need doesn't apply at West Lyon.

"If you looked at the number of our kids that are actually affecting the tourism industry, it's a very, very low number of children that we have out in the workforce at that point in time," superintendent Hargens said.

The superintendent told us the decision to close school early is a safety issue.

But he also believes the decision to start school before or after Labor Day should be left up to each community to decide what works best for it.

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