Moore says later start bad idea for kids, teachers
The Rowan County Board of Education at its last board meeting approved the 2016-17 school calendar.
The first day for students is set for Thursday, Aug. 11.
Senate Bill 50, sponsored by Sen. Chris Girdler, R-Somerset; Sen. Damon Thayer. R-Georgetown; Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville; and Sen. Robin L. Webb, D-Grayson, would require schools to schedule the first attendance day no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 26.
The proposed legislation had been known as the state fair bill in the past because some lawmakers had argued that sending high school students back to school prior to the Kentucky State Fair left a shortage of visitors and labor for the annual event.
Starting kids back to school in late August is also thought by some as a way to boost late summer tourism and the bill’s sponsors represent areas that heavily depend on summer tourism at marinas and local attractions.
Girdler represents counties in the Lake Cumberland area, Webb’s district has Grayson and Greenbo lakes, and Hornback represents counties on or near the Ohio River.
But starting the school year in late August could potentially cause problems for Kentucky school boards, especially if bad weather causes school districts to push back the final day of school.
Supt. Marvin Moore said school calendars, including student start dates, should be a local decision.
“There seems to be a few legislators, especially down near Somerset, who argue that summer breaks are too short,” he said. “So this bill would extend the summer breaks and their thought is that would bring more tourists to certain areas. But I haven’t seen any research to support that.”
Moore added that he was in a conference call Monday morning with other superintendents throughout the state and said that they all were opposed to the bill.
If the bill becomes law, the school board would have to amend the entire 2016-17 school calendar.
“That’s not a decision that should come out of Frankfort. The locals in each school district know from year to year when the calendar should start. We don’t know what weather is going be like every winter so if this passes it would push the end of school well into June. I just don’t think that’s good for our kids or our teachers,” Moore said. “We’ve already adopted our calendar for the next school year but if that bill passes we would have to go back and amend the calendar. We wouldn’t have a choice.”
by Larry DeHart