Legislature tables bills on school start dates

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire lawmakers are staying out of the debate over whether schools should start before or after Labor Day, for now.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, a strong proponent of later start dates, created a “Save Our Summers” study commission in 2018 to examine how a mandatory post-Labor Day start date would affect tourism, academic performance and other areas. The group ended up issuing a report without taking sides, and earlier this past week, the Senate voted to table two bills related to the topic. One would have enacted the mandatory later start date. The other would have specified that local school districts have the authority to set their calendars.

Schools in 80% of districts started before Labor Day for the current academic year, about the same percentage as the previous year.