Could longer school days solve PSD’s $100M air conditioning debate?

Coloradoan Conversations is the Coloradoan’s opinion forum. Each week we’ll pose conversation-starting questions online at, moderate online discussion, then recap the best discussion points.

This week’s Coloradoan Conversation:

Here’s a little perspective: Back in 2015, then-Poudre School District Superintendent Sandra Smyser said central air units in air-conditioned district schools typically ran 18 days per year. Flash forward seven years and that number is certainly climbing with rising August and September temperatures heating classrooms.

We don’t know to what extent that usage has risen over the years as PSD seems to still be gathering basic information about the potential costs and benefits of expanding air conditioning to the 35 district schools that lack it. But with AC installation likely costing PSD north of $100 million, and a post-Labor Day start of the school year likely shifting the heat issue into June, here’s a potential alternative:

For subscribers:No longer just ‘a few hot days’: Poudre School District reckons with climbing temperatures

What about longer school days?

Sorry, students and teachers, but since days of instruction are ultimately hours of instruction, lengthening school days during cooler months could allow the district to complete the year between Labor Day and Memorial Day while still providing the same number of instructional hours as the current mid-August start.

They’d also mean reduced need for after-school care for some families, but increased conflicts with extracurricular activities, not to mention some awfully tired kids. So, what do you think? Would longer school days work for your family?

Earlier this year:Poudre School District schools will close early for 2 days because of heat: What to know

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