Senate bill would give school districts flexibility with calendar

01/30/2017 07:13 PM

FRANKFORT – The school calendar bill is back for another run in 2017, with Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, taking over sponsorship from former Sen. Chris Girdler.

Senate Bill 50, would give Kentucky school districts incentives if they choose to start school on the Monday after August 26.

Schools opting to start later would have the current 170-day requirement by the state for classroom instruction waived, but would still need to complete the 1,062 hours minimum requirement for a school year.

The Georgetown Republican says the legislation would give school districts a chance to be creative with their school calendar.

“You talk about local control, you talk about calendar flexibility, when you eliminate that 170 day minimum, it opens up all sorts of opportunities for the folks who create the calendar at our local school districts.”

Thayer believes that the current early starting dates have a negative economic impact on summer related businesses in the state.

“In Georgetown, we have a water park that was paid for by the tax payers,” Thayer said. “Guess when it closes? First day of school in early August. The hottest month of the year, we have a water park for the enjoyment of our citizens that’s closed.”

Thayer also pointed to statistics that seem to indicate that students in states who start school close to, or after Labor Day, like Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New York do better academically.

“We have data that shows that ACT test scores are actually higher in states with a later school calendar start date,” Thayer said.

SB50 would also set up a school calendar committee which would make a recommendation to the superintendent who would take the recommendation to the school board.

The committee would consist of a school district principal, school district officer other than the superintendent, one member of school board, two parents of kids attending school in the district, elementary school teacher, middle or high school teacher, two classified employees, and two community members from the local chamber of commerce, business community or tourism agency.


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