Should schools in Rapid City start after Labor Day? - KOTA Territory News

Should schools in Rapid City start after Labor Day?

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School in most of KOTA Territory started this week, but with the hot temperatures there have been early dismissals.

Half the schools in Rapid City don't have air conditioning, so that brings into question whether there should be a later start date. With above average temperatures this week, parents say it's just too hot for their kids to be in school.     

With the hot weather, schools get out early and it makes some wonder whether students should start after Labor Day. 

"Just given it's still summertime and as we've noticed the heat this week, I think we could easily wait until after Labor Day to start school," said Lynette Banks.

Banks is a parent and she also works in the school district.  

"I work in a building that does not have air conditioning, so that plays a big role I think. It's hard to concentrate for the adults and the kids when it's so hot," Banks said.

Dr. Tim Mitchell, Rapid City School District Superintendent, said only recently has the heat been a problem.  

"Last year we had one day for early release because of heat that first week, that was the only release we had, then of course this week with the really high temperatures," said Mitchell.

Mitchell says organizing the school schedule can be difficult.  

"There is state required hours of instruction that you have to get in, and so there would have to be some sort of tradeoff, shorter Christmas break, less three day weekends," said Mitchell.

If enough people wanted an after Labor Day start, change could happen.  

"There is a state law that says any school district that identifies a calendar prior to Labor Day as a start, there is an ability of the voters of the school district to take it to a petition," said Mitchell.

Some parents say they understand there are certain hours needed in the school year.  

"They have a lot of learning to do, and there's a lot of structure. But when it's this hot out, it really makes you do a double take," said Krista Keairns, a parent.

About 70 percent of school districts in South Dakota started on August 19th and less than two percent of South Dakota schools start after Labor Day.

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