Longer summer, longer school days draw opposition

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BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — A bill that would require school systems statewide to extend summer break and start classes after Labor Day has not even been introduced to lawmakers, but rumors are already swirling what would happen if it passes.

“I’m not going to go to 4:30 or 5 o’clock I can tell you that,” says Baldwin County School Superintendent Eddie Tyler. “Baldwin County won’t do that.”

Representative Steve Hurst, from Talladega County, says he will sponsor legislation that would require school to begin no sooner than Labor Day and end no later than Memorial Day. Extending the summer break to help workforce development.

“To sacrifice academics at the doorstep of workforce development? No,” says Tyler. Still, just in case, school administrators are working through “what if” scenarios to determine how they would adjust their school calendars and still meet state requirements. “If something happens to where holidays are eliminated, parents are going to take their children out of school. They are going to take them out at Thanksgiving, they are going to take them out at Christmas, they are going to have a spring break and then what does that do to our chronic absenteeism that is reported on the state report card? It goes through the roof.”

School boards from across the state along with the state school superintendent have already voiced opposition to the proposal and so have some lawmakers.

“When issues like this come up we ought to let local government make the decision that are best for their particular community,” says Baldwin County Senator Chris Elliott. Educators like Tyler agree. “Everybody needs to take a breath and settle down and see what happens.”

Tyler says none of the options they have looked at to re-work the school calendar would involve extending the school day to 4 or 5 p.m.

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