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Waste Watch: Group Says Starting School After Labor Day Could Save Money -- Mikayla Lewis

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Critics say opening schools in August forces counties to spend thousands of dollars needlessly to cool classrooms. 

Public schools in Tennessee started the first week of August this year. For Jenny Wang's family it impacted their annual family vacation trip.

Wang says, "We did have to move it up to July because of school starting, we had to truck it a little bit. It's just a matter of adjusting. "

The mother of two Williamson County students says the heat is also concerning. This week alone temperatures are in 90's, but feel like 100's.

It is a hot issue for Save Tennessee Summers and The Coalition for a Traditional School Calendar. The non-profits are formed of concerned parents and teachers against the earlier start dates.

The coalition's executive director, Tina Bruno says, "In Tennessee because school is starting so early, you have schools that are spending between $50-100,000  more in August electric bills simply because of cooling those classrooms with all the children in them during the hottest time of the year."

Bruno says Knox County schools spent nearly $50,000 a week to cool down in August 2007. Bruno adds Texas estimated it cost districts about $790 million a year to open in August.

Bruno says, "If you look at being able to give a child small group tutoring and they're telling you they can't afford that but they can allow $50-260,000   to blow out the window in higher cooling costs, that''s ridiculous."

With extracurricular activities kicking back into gear, some see value in starting sooner. 

Wang says, " To constantly have to struggle with planning activities and childcare for times that kids are out of school, going back earlier could help with dual income families."

Fox 17 reached out to the State Department of Education, and we're still waiting back for comment.


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