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Local control is best

The New Hampshire Legislature last week tabled two bills involving the start date for schools throughout the Granite State.

One bill would have enacted a mandatory start date after Labor Day each year. The other would have specified that local school districts have the authority to set their calendars.

Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, is a proponent of later start dates for school. In 2018, he commissioned a “Save Our Summers” study to examine how a mandatory post-Labor Day start date would affect tourism, academic performance and other areas. The group later issued a report without taking sides.

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

While examining the issue may be prudent, the decision for school start dates should, indeed, be left up to the individual school districts.

After all, each school district knows the needs of its students, and also takes into account possible days for teacher training and for instructional days lost due to inclement weather each year. Those days, obviously, vary by district depending upon its location in the state and its criteria for calling off school.

The issue definitely is something worth discussion, but the Legislature was right to table the bills. Local control always is best.

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