Should Philly start its school year after Labor Day? Committee recommends yes, and no

Mike DeNardo
December 07, 2018 - 4:00 am
No August start for Philly schools next year?  The Hite administration is recommending a 9/3/19 start - the day after Labor Day.  But the rec is for an 8/31 opening day in 2020.

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia School District caught some heat this year for starting classes before Labor Day. 

The Philadelphia school year started before Labor Day for the first time this year, and got off to a rough start with a week's worth of heat-shortened days.  

Now, the district's calendar committee has released its recommendations for the next two years: A start of school on Sept. 3, the day after Labor Day, in 2019. 

As for 2020, it would be Aug. 31, a week before Labor Day.  

The district's Chief of Schools Shawn Bird heads the calendar committee.
"There's actually not a whole lot of wiggle room in the calendar. There's 180 days that you have to go, and there are certain holidays that you have to take. But we wanted to provide opportunities for people to rank their interest," Bird said. 

The district received 6,400 responses from a parent survey.

Julia Frank and Alfredo Pratico, the student representatives on the school board, reviewed the responses.

"A lot of people were split between before Labor Day and after Labor Day. Alfredo and I both were for starting before Labor Day. But it was a compromise, so I think it was okay," said Julia. 

Alfred says the August heat didn't bother him at Masterman School. 
"My parents' philosophy is not to have air conditioning. So I'm kind of used to that environment, and a T-shirt sticking to my back isn't totally new," he said. 

The proposed calendar for next school year has an eight-day winter break. The 2020-21 calendar includes a two-week winter break.

The school board votes on the calendars next Thursday.