Iowa Law To Blame For Student’s Random School Start Date
If you have gone to school in Iowa or have kids in an Iowa school, for almost 10 years the school start date keeps changing. Well, the day of the week school starts changes every year but the date itself remains the same.
A law signed by the governor of Iowa before Kim Reynolds is the reason why Iowa schools start in the middle of the week this year. It's the same reason why the school could and will start on Friday next year.
Iowa Fair Kids vs. School Start Date
Have you ever heard Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad be referred to as Governor Grandstand? This might help clarify that a little bit.
Back in 2015, Iowa lawmakers, including Gov. Terry Branstad -- Iowa's 39th and 42nd Governor -- argued that schools that went back to school too early hurt tourism, according to the Des Moines Register.
What they really meant was it hurt attendance at the Iowa State Fair. To be fair (all puns intended), several kids throughout Iowa show cattle and other livestock during the state fair. Several officials argued that point and even said that this law will help swimming pools, golf courses, and other summer attractions stay open longer and make more money.
The Iowa Law That No One Read
On April 4, 2015, Gov. Branstad, the longest-serving governor in U.S. history, signed Senate File 227. The law has one massive clerical error making Iowa school's start dates all over the calendar.
In that building above, whoever was part of the House and Senate during that Iowa session clearly didn't read this bill put before them.
Senate File 227 was an Act relating to the school start date and to exemption and penalty provisions and included effective date provisions. In this bill, section 279.10, subsection 1 was changed to read as follows:
"The school year for each school district and accredited nonpublic school shall begin on July 1 and the school calendar shall begin no sooner than August 23 and no later than the first Monday in December."
As soon as that law was signed by Gov. Branstad, it went into effect. That meant that schools can't start any day before August 23rd which was the last day of the Iowa State Fair in 2015. That meant Iowa schools started on Monday, August 24th in 2015.
See where the problem is yet?
August 23rd Doesn't Fall On The Same Day
If you fast forward one year to 2016, Iowa schools couldn't start until August 23rd. In 2016, August 23rd fell on a Tuesday and we all realized something at the same time. Someone f***ed up.
In 2016, the Iowa State Fair ended on Sunday, August 21st. Schools in Iowa probably should've started Monday, August 22nd, but because of that bill that became a law that no one read, Iowa students started on a Tuesday.
If you're wondering to yourself, "Why isn't alright if kids have a short first week?" In 2024, Iowa schools start on Friday, August 23rd. What's the point?
Iowa Knows How Calendars Work, Right?
Yes and no? If we look at that bill's wording again, it says at the end "...and no later than the first Monday in December." So they know the right verbiage to correct this mistake, why don't they? They're politicians.
In Iowa's step-by-step process on how a bill becomes a law, there is nothing in there saying a certain amount of time has to pass to correct something that's obviously incorrect.
There are two options they could add to Section 279.10, subsection 1 to make this correct so kids actually start like normal people (if that's what we want):
- Option 1: The school year for each school district and accredited nonpublic school shall begin on July 1 and the school calendar shall begin no sooner than
August 23the fourth Monday of August and no later than the first Monday in December.
- Option 2: The school year for each school district and accredited nonpublic school shall begin on July 1 and the school calendar shall begin no sooner than
August 23the Monday following the Iowa State Fair and no later than the first Monday in December.
The reason option two exists is that in 2024, the Iowa State Fair ends on Sunday, August 18th. The fourth Monday of August 2024 is the 26th.
It's Time Iowa Fixes This Mistake
I'm not a bill writer, lawmaker, the longest-serving governor in U.S. history, or the succeeding governor, but I'm not an idiot either. Maybe it's time we correct this mistake.
Maybe I'm in the wrong here, I don't know. It's just embarrassing to correctly assume this was just a mistake we're happy living with. Gov. Reynolds, any chance we can get this fixed? Doesn't make us look the best, Iowa.