AMITE, La. (AP) _ A petition calling for the start date for Tangipahoa Parish schools to be delayed due to excessive heat has drawn thousands of supporters.

The Advocate ( ) reports that the online petition, which seeks to move the parish’s first day of school from Aug. 6 to after Labor Day, had gathered more than 5,000 signatures before the parish’s school board meeting Tuesday night.

Organizer Carli Adams says most of the district’s school buses lack air conditioning, and says changing the schools’ start date could help prevent heat-related illnesses, avoid the peak of hurricane season, as well as save the district money by decreasing energy bills.

Board President Brett Duncan says the board’s Instructional Accountability and Support Committee will hold further discussions on the issue before the district sets future school calendars.