Iowa Senate Concludes School Start Date Should Be Determined Locally


Iowa capital building in Des Moines. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Lucy McGehee, Reporter

The Iowa Senate voted Tuesday to diverge from Governor Branstad’s proposal of an enforced school start date no earlier than September 1st, without the possibility of issued waivers. The Senate voted 32-17 to leave authority to Iowa’s 338 public school districts to decide when it is best to start school for their area.

The law that the Senate transfigured stated that public and private Kindergarten through 12th grade school cannot start school before the beginning of September without a waiver. A vast majority of Iowa’s school districts start before Augusts 23rd.

The main arguments in favor of the bill declared that the later start would interfere with current school curriculums and preparation for AP, SAT, and ACT tests. Financial aid reduction due to choosing to waive the later start date would also be discontinued, benefiting school districts that choose to start earlier.

The bill passed by the Senate will likely come back from the Iowa House of Representatives with many compromises. The House is controlled by Republicans, many of which believe that starting school before September 1st would interfere with Iowa tourism events, such as the Iowa State Fair and the number of people that visit Lake Okoboji in late August.

Possible retaliations from Governor Branstad against local decision for school commencement dates would be a compromised to an earlier date. Branstad has mentioned that August 24th could be a possible accommodated date and also voiced a potential veto to a bill that entailed schools starting before August 23rd.

The Iowa Legislation has yet to pass a finalized bill on school commencement, consequently there is no set date as of now.