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Assessing the impacts of traditional school year calendar start dates


  • Murray, Alan T.


The importance of education is undeniable. With considerable investment by the public in education, effectiveness and mechanisms for delivery must continually be monitored and evaluated. Proposals to alter the school calendar year therefore merit serious consideration if this translates to better management of scarce resources. Among those facets of school level costs that offer an opportunity for significant savings are plant operations. Any savings that enable resources to be focused more centrally on delivery and support of the educational mission are clearly worthy of exploration. At issue is the variability of school beginning and ending dates across the United States. It is hypothesized that strategic planning of break periods can lead to decreases in energy costs, and usage. For example, in the southwest United States, hot summer conditions can lead to significant spikes in energy consumption at times of the year when energy prices are at their highest. An approach for evaluating energy usage patterns relative to school calendars is developed, where usage and climate conditions are sought to be better understood. An optimization model is structured, formulated and applied capable of identifying ideal school start/end dates with plant operation costs in mind. Application results for a school are presented, with findings discussed within the context of proposed state-level public policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Murray, Alan T., 2016. "Assessing the impacts of traditional school year calendar start dates," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 28-36.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceps:v:54:y:2016:i:c:p:28-36
    DOI: 10.1016/j.seps.2015.12.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fischel, William A., 2006. ""Will I see you in September?" An economic explanation for the standard school calendar," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 236-251, March.
    2. Bruno, James E. & Andersen, Paul W., 1982. "Analytical methods for planning educational facilities in an era of declining enrollments," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 121-131.
    3. D. Mark Anderson & Mary Beth Walker, 2015. "Does Shortening the School Week Impact Student Performance? Evidence from the Four-Day School Week," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 10(3), pages 314-349, July.
    4. Hanley, Paul F., 2007. "Transportation cost changes with statewide school district consolidation," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 163-179, June.
    5. Lemberg, David S. & Church, Richard L., 2000. "The school boundary stability problem over time," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 159-176, September.
    6. Haase, Knut & Müller, Sven, 2013. "Management of school locations allowing for free school choice," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 847-855.
    7. Hong, Taehoon & Koo, Choongwan & Jeong, Kwangbok, 2012. "A decision support model for reducing electric energy consumption in elementary school facilities," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 253-266.
    8. Schoepfle, O. Benjamin & Church, Richard L., 1991. "A new network representation of a "classic" school districting problem," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 189-197.
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