The calendar of Alabama schools would change if the State Senate approves a bill that places limitations on when classes can begin and end each year. The measure, already adopted by the House would require the school year to begin no earlier than two weeks before Labor Day. It would have to end before Memorial Day. Under the measure, a minimum 180 days must be spent by students in class. The bill provides no option to increase hours in the classroom and decrease the number of days.
The lure for lawmakers and others is a projected increase in tourism. Some analysts think the current school calendar--under which many students return from summer break in early August ---is costing the state more than $300-million per year in tourism revenue.
However, most if not all superintendents are opposed to the measure including Dothan's Tim Wilder. "I just don't like when they dictate when we start and end," he said. Shorter in-term breaks, such as spring break and Christmas vacation, would likely be the result if the legislative proposal passes.
The Senate could vote on the bill this week. If passed, the measure would then go to Governor Bentley for his signature.