Iowa schools would be barred from starting before August 25th if a bill that cleared the Iowa Senate becomes law. Senator John Putney, a Republican from Gladbrook, says current law isn’t being followed. September 1st is to be the first day of school in Iowa, but schools may get waivers from the state — and most do — to start earlier.
Putney says schools try to start earlier and earlier in August, and it eats into Iowa’s already-short tourism season. Putney says the state spends millions to promote Iowa tourism, yet schools “keep backing the school start date back up” — reducing the potential that families will patronize tourism sites and events in mid-August.
Putney is executive director of the Iowa State Fair Foundation, and he says when schools start up during the fair’s run, it cheats some kids out of their fair experience. Putney says 18-thousand Iowa kids enter events at the State Fair, which he describes as the state championship, and some have to go to school during that last week of the fair and miss out on competing in fair events.
Putney says it makes more sense to push more school days into early June rather than mid-August because of the August heat factor. “It’s the worst heat because of the humidity,” Putney says. In addition, Putney says it’s a waste of resources to bus kids into a hot school in mid-August, then let school out early at noon.
The kids don’t learn in that hot-house environment and Putney says that’s why he’s pushing for the August 25th start date — no exceptions. Putney’s bill cleared the Senate on a 35 to 15 vote and now must clear the House and get Governor Vilsack’s signature if it is to become law.