• Local state leaders, including governor, split over starting school after Labor Day

    By: Richard Elliot


    ATLANTA - Since we reported on state lawmakers considering a change to move the start of the school year to after Labor Day, Channel 2 Action News has been hearing a lot of feedback from our viewers.

    Channel 2's Richard Elliot visited the state Capitol on Wednesday to see if he could speak to the governor about having a new state Senate committee study this.

    In a one-on-one interview with Elliot, Governor Nathan Deal said he didn't have a stance either way on the topic but added he did see some benefits in another proposition.

    "I think there would be some benefit perhaps to some uniform starting date for schools," Deal said.


    Elliot drove to Lumpkin County on Tuesday to speak with state Sen. Steve Gooch, the chair of the new study committee.

    Gooch wondered if starting after Labor Day would save schools money spent on air conditioning bills and would help Georgia’s tourism industry.

    But Georgia Association of Educators President Charlotte Booker doesn’t believe the state can legally control when schools start, and that it’s up to local school boards.

    She thinks those local boards know what’s best for their district.

    "If you are a farmer, then it makes a bigger difference when school starts than if you live in the urban area and don’t have that issue. It’s definitely a local issue," Booker said.

    Deal hopes Georgia parents will let the study committee know just how they feel.

    "So there are a lot of reasons, but I know that the committee is going to look at those reasons and hopefully will reach a good conclusion," Deal said.

    It’s still unclear if the General Assembly has the authority to set school start dates, since the school calendars are controlled by local school districts.

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