Aug 4, 2023 - Education

Indiana's school calendar brings early end to summer

A disassembled diving board in front of a drained pool.

Most Indianapolis-area pools will be closed next week. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Summer is basically over.

Driving the news: The ever-earlier start to the school year in Indiana means the summer economy — fueled by vacationing families and working teens — closes this weekend, even with temperatures in at least the 80s as far as the forecast can see.

What's happening: Indianapolis began closing pools amid last week's heat wave and the rest will shutter for good Sunday, along with most other nearby water retreats from the Greenfield community pool to The Waterpark in Carmel.

  • And it's not just pools — Holiday World, the theme park in southwestern Indiana, ends weekday hours next week.

Yes, but: There are exceptions, including the Freedom Springs Aquatics Park in Greenwood, which is open until Sept. 4.

The big picture: Indianapolis-area students began returning to school July 26, making Indiana one of the earliest states in the nation for classes to resume.

  • Only a handful of school districts nationwide opened in July as of 2019, the last time Pew Research Center examined school start times (the earliest then was an Arizona district that opened July 23).
  • School calendars follow regional patterns, with most districts in the South and Southwest opening by mid-August and districts on the East Coast and in the upper Midwest more likely to open after Labor Day, Pew found.

Zoom out: Neighboring states have later back-to-school dates.

  • Michigan has a law mandating schools start after Labor Day, though districts can receive waivers; Ohio and Illinois schools generally start in the second half of August.

Between the lines: Hospitality businesses carry weight in those debates, especially in regions where tourism is seasonal, and they have pushed for Indiana to delay school calendars.

  • The Indiana General Assembly in recent years has considered legislation that would mandate mid-to-late-August school start times, but it hasn't advanced.

The bottom line: At least the weather is still nice.

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