Local News

Senate Approves Modified School Calendar Bill

Posted July 16, 2004

— The state Senate has approved a modified version of the school calendar bill.

The measure was approved by a 28-13 vote on Friday. Under the bill, schools cannot begin until after Aug. 25 and must end by June 10.

The Senate Education Committee approved the measure on Thursday after making some changes to an earlier House version. Senators voted for five fewer teacher workdays, instead of 10 fewer workdays as the state House approved.

On Friday, a Senate committee decided to make more changes to the bill, adding a waiver to the bill for schools to alter the mandatory start and end dates to accommodate special programs and special groups of students. A weather-related waiver currently exists in the bill, but it applies only to districts that average eight makeup dates a year.

Supporters of the bill include the tourism industry, parents and some teachers. Opponents of the bill claim the it robs local and state school boards of needed control.

The bill will now go back to the state House to see if it approves the changes made by the Senate. If the changes are not appoved, a team of negotiators composed of members of the House and Senate will try to come up with a compromise.

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