There is a mandatory "earliest" Fall start date for schools in Iowa that do not go year-round and that will not be changing, despite ongoing discussion to the contrary. COVID has caused so much school-related disarray, it is not considered a priority to advance this bill at this time, according to Griswold representative Thomas Moore.
If the tourism industry had its way, the school year would start even later but as the discussion has been tabled and the start date will not change, they will take the win. Radio Iowa says they are concerned about the loss of revenue and their school-aged staff. A spokesperson for Okoboji Tourism says his group loses a million dollars a day for every day earlier their school-aged staff goes back. Others have priorities beyond recreation revenue. Margaret Buckton of the Urban Education Network said:
It’s important to work with communities and child care providers and staff and the local economy to figure out what is the best fit for all of these things and we trust our school boards to make those decisions in the best interests of their students and their taxpayers.
Representative Moore, a former teacher, says lawmakers are caught in a "catch-22" having to accommodate both sides.
We don’t want to infringe on our business partners that are paying the taxes and making the money for the state government. We also want that local school board to be able to make what the best decision for them
The state law as it stands was created in 2015 when then-Iowa governor Terry Branstad signed a law "forbidding" public and private schools from starting before the end of the Iowa State Fair. August 23 was adopted as the universal "don't start before" date, and so it will stay for now. as the earliest date Fall semester can start.