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Overheated districts trying later start dates

The Poudre School District may push its school start dates back next year to mitigate the problem of hot August days in mostly non-air conditioned buildings.

At its meeting Tuesday, the school board will consider a middle and elementary start date of August 24, a week later than this year, and a high school start date of August 20, two days later than this year. The board will also discuss a $200,000 study that would look at the cost and feasibility of installing air conditioning in all district buildings.

Poudre’s heat predicament came to a head in August 2013, when consecutive sweltering days caused complaints and canceled school. To address that problem, the district implemented two weeks of early release days for elementary and middle schools last August, but the temperatures were fairly mild during that period and some parents complained that the altered schedule made transportation and child care arrangements difficult.

Poudre isn’t the only district to address overheated classrooms and uncomfortable students during the first few weeks of school. Pueblo City Schools moved its start date to early September this school year to combat such problems. And in 2013, Denver Public Schools pushed its August start date back by a week, from mid- to late August (Most DPS schools started August 25 this year.)