When to start the school year? Many folks have many opinions about the right date for kids to return to classes after the summer.

As a former homeschooling mom, we always started our school year after Labor Day, but had the benefit of being able to hold classes on both snow days and holidays if we had to.

As a parent of kids in brick-and-mortar elementary, middle, and high schools now, I can see the pros of starting after, especially when it comes to those hot August days in unairconditioned rooms. Last year, during Bangor High's Open House, teachers brought in fans from home (that did little to nothing to help) because of the sweltering conditions inside the building.

I can't imagine what classes were like in the noon-day sun!

But I have friends who are teachers, and many of them have explained the value of starting earlier, especially for the younger students.

While the trend in recent years has been for many schools to start before Labor Day, some schools in Central Maine will be pushing that start date back a bit.

This past January, Gardiner-area Superintendent Patricia Hopkins suggested to the school board of SAD 11 that the Kennebec-Intra Region Schools’ academic calendar be changed, having students start school after Labor Day this year, instead of before.

According to an article at CentralMaine.com:

"By starting classes a week later, students and teachers can avoid the extremely warm weather at the end of August that has caused early dismissals.

"The change also means that mandatory staff workshop days would be held at the start of the year, rather than having the days scattered throughout the year."

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There's still the issue of snow days and remote days. And with the recent designation of Juneteenth Day as a holiday introduces the issue of holiday pay if the school year should run longer because of winter storms.

We wanted to know where you stood on all of this so we asked you to share your opinions. Here are just a few of them, all with good points.

Melissa Avery Burns

"I would LOVE to start after Labor Day. As a teacher - AUGUST IS HOT! and literally the best month of the summer. June... well, it's a crap shoot. I work in an older building, no ac, and starting in August has been brutal (90-100 degrees sometimes inside). This coming year, tho we are not starting after Labor Day, we are finally starting LATER in August (we had been starting near the 22nd - which means teachers were working at least a week before that) - starting later makes me happy. ---- On the FLIP side, teaching at a HS, AP classes tests are at the beginning of May, so AP teachers need to get really creative for that last month before school ends (2 weeks of 'filler stuff' vs 1 month of 'filler stuff' is quite the difference when kids are pretty much checked-out)."

Rob Sparda

"Yes it should be law, we live in a state that tourism is our industry, schools should not start before Labor Day, the resorts and restaurants need these kids through Labor Day weekend!"

Michelle Mattor Avery

"Our district starts on the Wednesday before, So the kids start with a 3-day week, then a 4-day week (week of Labor Day), and then the 5-day week. I think that's brilliant and a good way to ease into it. I wouldn't change it."

Jay McKenney

"35 year veteran teacher here. In Northern Maine the harvest has a lot to do with it. When I was a kid we started in the middle of August, then had a 3 week harvest break in Sept/Oct. Hand crews are a thing of the past. Only a small number of students now do farm work.

I've always said, start after labor day.. and give any student who works the (actual) harvest, a type of work credit. It'll never happen though. We've been down that road before."

Keith C Robinson

"They get enough PD days through the school year, toss in a couple weather dates and there is the school year. Parents have to book time off months in advance and summer time is the Holy Grail of vacation time. Start after Labor Day - survive Thanksgiving and Christmas break - deal with spring break and get out of school in late June. Two months is enough to enjoy summer and maybe get a part-time job."

Feel free to add your two cents.

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