Bill to dictate school start and end dates passes senate.
MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- The Alabama Legislature today gave its final approval to a plan that would ban any city or county school board from starting the next school year before Aug. 20 or from ending it later than May 24.
The plan also would ban any school board from starting the 2013-14 school year for students before Aug. 19.
The Senate voted 25-10 for its version of the plan, House Bill 360 by Rep. Randy Davis, R-Daphne. The House of Representatives last month approved a version of the plan that would have affected school start dates and end dates over four school years. But the House today voted 58-36 to accept the Senate version.
The bill will become law unless Gov. Robert Bentley opposes it.
Opponents of the bill noted that it would take the power to schedule school years from local school boards.
''These are elected school boards," said Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, R-Madison. "These are school boards that have been entrusted with local control. We're usurping that power.''
Supporters said the bill, by lengthening summer breaks, would boost tourism and so raise state sales tax and income tax collections that go to the Education Trust Fund, the main source of state tax dollars for public schools and colleges.
''This is a very sensitive bill that does tread on the school boards' responsibility. If I didn't believe it would generate more dollars ... I assure you I wouldn't be supportive of it,'' said Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the state should be able to dictate the school schedule that strictly? This year's calendar was August 15- May 30. Next year's calendar runs August 8- May 23. If this bill passes, the school district will lose a week. I guess that means either fall or spring break will go away.