An End To Summer As Children Know It?

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

Knoxville (WVLT) Each year it seems school starts earlier and earlier.

Some area schools have been in class since August 6th.

Does this mean summer break is shorter than in years past?

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman takes a look.

Bottom line here in Knox County is that school starts earlier and ends earlier.

But it's still 180 days of school.

Michael Southerland, who has a child in school says, "I think the summer's gotten shorter for kids every year from when I was a kid."

Sure seems that way with early August starting times these days.

Southerland would like to have a little more summer for his family.

"Well, it'd give you more time to plan for a vacation, you'd have different holidays to plan around. The way they get out now, the only thing you have to plan around is the 4th of July and that's it."

Temperatures in the 90s and the start to a new school year can bring about some second guesses to when classes should begin.

Dan Murphy, a 4th district Knox County School Board Member says, "there's a whole bunch of folks who have an opinion about the calendar."

One Knox County mother says, "I just really think it's too hot right now especially for the younger children to be in school."

Another Knox County shopper says, "Oh, absolutely. Because August was always our vacation time growing up, and now it's back to school."

What about economics?

Would starting school after Labor Day save on cooling costs?

Murphy says, "Well, certainly with 100 degree heat that's an issue. Whether it'd save money how much it would save, I'm not in a position to answer that."

Schools in Knox County used to begin the third week of August, but starting earlier better fits block scheduling in the high schools.

It allows the first semester and finals to wrap up before Christmas break.

School scheduling is a lot like a Rubik's cube.

Murphy continues, "54,000 children, 8,000 employees, virtually the whole community, it's a very different proposition to try and satisfy everybody. In fact, you're not."

Of the area schools systems we spoke with today, none has plans of starting school any later in the near future.

For our neighbors in Kentucky, there's a group that's called "Save Kentucky Summers."

It's been asking for later start times for the past four years.

As of yet, there have been no changes.


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