It still comes as a surprise, if not a shock, to some people when they learn that New Hampshire is not a true “home rule’’ state. The people, through their state government, determine the laws. Only where the state has given its assent may town and city governments make the rules.
There are many areas where that has in fact been done over the years. Some areas where the state has not ceded its authority come up to rankle the locals from time to time.
Some local officials, with an absurdly ambitious politician fanning the flames for his own purpose, came up against state law when they tried to postpone elections during snowstorms. (We would suggest a state law against hyperventilating TV weathermen, but that’s for another day.)
They were told that the Secretary of State makes election calls, not the locals. There are good reasons for that.
School districts, on the other hand, do get to make most of the calls affecting them. That includes delaying or calling off school when it snows. They don’t need the education commissioner’s okay. It also includes determining the start date and end date of the school year, so long as it includes 180 days of learning.
We will be most interested to see how local school boards and voters feel about an effort in the Legislature to REVERSE that particular local control. Under a new bill, the school starting date would be set not by your school board but by the folks who run the Yippy Skippy Amusement Park and the Wild and Wacky Water Safari.
In other words, the date would be set by the tourism industry, which is pushing this legislation. It is not only concerned that its young workers quit summer jobs before Labor Day; it is now complaining that it loses kid customers and their parents as well.
Silly us. We thought the old agrarian school calendar was a thing of the past.