Current New York State law requires that school start no earlier than September 1 each year, but a new proposal being considered could change that.

The State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia told the Albany Times Union that a proposal currently under review would give school districts the option to start classes earlier. That same proposal would also change the way instructional time is counted: it would switch from days of instruction to hours of instruction instead. Currently, a district must give 180 days of instruction - the new proposal would now set minimum hourly instructional time, spread over the year.

Elia explained that these changes would give school districts more flexibility, allowing more time for recess and lunch and for in-service training for teachers, and give districts the ability to lengthen the school day. It would also give districts more flexibility in the event of big weather events, like the Nor'easter that happened in March of 2017, closing some districts for multiple snow days in a row.

Any changes would need to be negotiated with each districts' respective unions, but if everything was approved, the changes could go into effect as soon as April 2018.

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