Senate bill would push for a late August starting date for public schools

02/18/2016 06:11 PM

FRANKFORT – A bill which would move the first day of school in all public schools to late August was heard by the Senate Committee on Education on Thursday, but was not voted on at the request of the sponsor.

Senate Bill 50, sponsored by Chris Girdler, would require schools to schedule the first student attendance day no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26, unless a school has adopted a year-round calendar. It would allow a waiver when a school has missed at least seven days each year for five previous years due to inclement weather.

Girdler said that the numerous lengthy breaks in the school year, such as fall break, tend to be a disruption to students and teachers and hasn’t led to better results in the classroom.

Girdler cited a study, carried out for the Kentucky Marina Association and Kentucky Travel Industry Association by Certec, a Versailles research firm, which showed that 6,000 tourism jobs ended in August and that more than $45 million in local and state tax revenue was lost due to the fact of schools starting in early August.

“The August school dates cost the Kentucky economy over $432 million in economic revenue,” Girdler said.

Mike Armstrong, executive director of the Kentucky School Board Association, spoke against the legislation saying that his group believes that decisions about the school calendar should be made at the local level.

“The decision to start school should remain with the locally elected board of education working in concert with their entire community, working in concert with their superintendent, to establish a starting date,” Armstrong said. “School calendars include a variety of particulars.”

The legislation will have to come back to the committee before it can move to the full Senate.


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