Scrapping the Start: CCS submits list of priorities, including an official opposition to a Senate bill regarding school start

Tara Kandallu, Reporter

Last month, Carmel Clay Schools submitted a list of priorities to the public and aimed at the Indiana General Assembly, among them was an official opposition to the proposed Indiana Senate Bill Seven. The bill, which has since become inactive, aimed to require schools to begin after the last Monday of August starting in the 2019-20 school year. Although the measure didn’t pass this year, Sen. Jean Leising filed a similar bill last year, which dies in a tie vote.

Joe Schaller, assistant principal of operations, said he approves of the district’s decision to oppose the bill.

He said, “I don’t know why we wouldn’t allow our local school districts to decide. If they want to start two to three weeks later and that community supports that move, I don’t know why we would say you have to (start school) at this time or you have to (start) at that time.”

Sophomore Alyssa Smith said she also thinks the school’s start time should be a decision of the community and the school district. She said she believes school districts vary around the state, and one size doesn’t fit all communities.

Smith said, “(Some districts) may want tourists and locals to spend time in the community during the warmer months, so they would shift their summer vacation to a time when it is warm. It doesn’t make sense that places that are drastically different would have the same rules for start time.”

This bill was not the only priority brought up by the Carmel Clay School district. Other issues included tax deductions for school supplies, which includes textbook fees, and tax credits for donations made to public schools and public school foundations.

Schaller said he was supportive of tax cuts.

“On the surface, (tax cuts for donations and textbooks) look like a good thing, because most people, including me, don’t want to pay a lot of taxes,” Schaller said.

Similarly, Smith said, “I know some kids that have to spend money on the school textbooks, but (that) also buy extra copies for their house. The textbook (tax break) would really help both them and normal students.”

Of all the issues, Schaller said keeping the decision of the school start time in the hands of the community would probably be the top priority.

He said, “Any time you try to force a change, it is harder to do. You would generally have more opposition to it. Some people don’t like to change.”