Schools Debate Later Start Dates

8-9-06 As several Southern Oklahoma schools head back to class this week, others are waiting longer hoping to beat the heat and lower costs.

Ardmore students have two more weeks of freedom but schools all around them are headed back this week, leaving officials asking whether those two extra weeks would mean more money in the bank.

With temperatures in the triple digits, Dickson students sat in air-conditioned rooms. In order to end the semester before Christmas break, local superintendents say they have no choice but to start early, forcing their air conditioner to work harder and placing students' health at risk in the heat.

Last year, the school bells didn't ring at Ardmore schools until after Labor Day thanks to construction and advantages.

OG&E officials say those two extra weeks would only make a marginal difference. To really save money, schools need to wait until after Labor Day to begin.

Talking with school officials today, they say if energy costs get any higher, it might be something they consider.