Summertime might end by mid-August for a majority of York County's school-age children next year.
Several school district superintendents are considering moving their start dates for the 2013-14 school year to around Monday, Aug. 19, about a week earlier than usual.
York Suburban, Hanover Public and Dover Area school districts are among those that have talked about it, in part to get a jump on the Keystone Exams.
The Keystones are a series of end-of-course high school exams that replaced the 11th-grade Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests.
But the PSSAs aren't taken until March. The first round of the Keystones are in December, putting pressure on
districts to get students ready earlier.
"We want to get instructional time before all that high-stakes testing," said York Suburban Superintendent Kate Orban.
Inconvenience: Some older students' work schedules could be impacted, such as those who work as lifeguards.
But Dover Superintendent Robert Krantz said the possible inconvenience of an earlier start -- Dover started Aug. 28 this year -- is outweighed by extra academic prep time.
"For the most part I have to base it on educational value," Krantz said.
Dallastown started on Aug. 22 this year, but is considering moving back a day to Aug. 21 next year. It can help to get as much time before the Keystones and the PSSAs as possible, said Superintendent Ron Dyer, and it makes it easier to make up days missed because of inclement weather.
Eventually, he added, it would make sense to approach instruction and curriculum from a March-to-March perspective with a summer break.
That way, teachers are starting to instruct the next grade level of curriculum right after the March PSSAs to get a jump on the next school year, rather than waiting for the fall.
There are other reasons to consider starting earlier, as well. Orban pointed out that if more districts have relatively similar start times, it makes it easier to coordinate cost-saving transportation schedules with the Lincoln Intermediate Unit, which provides busing for special education students across districts.
Sports? Spring Grove already has been working with an earlier start date than most, with school starting on Aug. 22 this year. It presents some challenges, said spokeswoman Lisa Smith.
Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association rules set the date when fall sports teams can start their two weeks of camp, she said, and Spring Grove's start date means their teams don't get that full amount of all-day camp.
But, as their 8-4 football record this fall suggests, it's not a huge detriment.
Smith said their calendar allows them to wrap up school earlier, as "there's just a desire to not go too far after Memorial Day."
Spring Grove's graduation date is May 31 this school year.
School districts likely won't be setting their 2013-14 calendars until at least January.