If some Indiana lawmakers get their wish, schools will not start classes until after Labor Day in the near future.
The Senate Education Committee has endorsed a bill -- by an 8-1 vote -- that would prevent the state's public schools from starting classes before Labor Day.
Labor Day this year is Sept. 6, meaning most area schools would be starting classes about three weeks later.
The bill, which now goes to the Senate floor for debate, originally stated that schools would be prohibited from ending until June 10. But the bill now allows schools to override that with the option of changing its calendar to have school end earlier.
Bloomfield Superintendent Dan Sichting said it doesn't matter when school starts or ends, it's the total number of days that count.
"It really doesn't matter what the starting day or ending date is, you have to go 180 days. That's a state law," Sichting said.
"If you move back the start of school, you also have to move back the end of school ... the only way you won't have to do that is if you take out all the vacations ... maybe two days for Christmas break, no fall break and no spring break."
Linton-Stockton Superintendent Nick Karazsia said he is aware of the bill, and will keep a close eye on it as it moves through the legislative process.
"We keep an eye on those bills, where they're at ... once they get out of the committee and get full support, then we think how is this going to affect us and how we're going to handle it," Karazsia explained.
Sichting said even if vacations were cut short so school would end before Memorial Day, it's not a guarantee that would be the case.
"The other thing that also plays into that is, the state of Indiana last year, this is the first year, that you have to make up every snow day," Sichting said. "There's no waiver process anymore for snow days."
Karazsia says when he went to school in western Pennsylvania, school didn't start until around Labor Day, and there wasn't a week off in the spring. There were other days throughout the year that they got off, like Good Friday and the day after Easter.
"When you start in early August, there's always the argument of 'Why not go year-round?' With budget cuts and everything that's coming up, (starting school later is) something that schools are going to start looking at ... start later or maybe go just four days a week. Then you're talking about saving money on transportation and utility costs," Karazsia said.
He said by pushing school back until early September, it would probably save on utility costs.
"Typically it's pretty hot in August, so you might save on some utility costs," Karazsia noted.
"But you'll still have 180 days, so it's just shifting from the beginning (of the school year) to the end."
Sichting noted that some families take vacations together when school is not in session.
"And we normally have at least a two-week window during Christmas break that our maintenance staff and custodial staff need that time to make repairs and clean the building, and they normally can't do that when students are here," Sichting explained.
Karazsia said the key to any such bill is to not change the overall educational process, meaning teachers must still be allowed to do their jobs.
But he also understands that school corporations only get so much money, and are now being forced to do more with less. And that includes less people.
"Everybody pitches in and does a little bit extra (when teachers and administrators aren't replaced), but when you're doing that little extra are you overloaded? Are you doing things as well as in the past? There can be more stress, and there's always the possibility of making mistakes," Karazsia explained.
"School is a business. Schools have been focusing on looking at the bottom line ... you have to. It comes down to costs and revenue. You have to be able to review everything. With our recent cuts, how can we do things differently? What can we do, but not lose anything (in teaching the students)?"
Sichting said the bill came about because of the northern Indiana tourism industry.
"This bill came about and is really sponsored by the tourism industry in the northern part of the state," Sichting said. "The earlier starting time hurts their business, and that's the reason they're pushing for the first day of school to be pushed back."