Starting School Later, Proposed In The Legislature - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/15/05-Tyler

Starting School Later, Proposed In The Legislature

It's the economy. That's why some lawmakers say Texans need to start the school year later. Right now, Texas law requires the school year to start the week of August 21st. But two laws could change that. One proposes an August 28th start date, the other, the Tuesday after Labor Day.

Both laws would keep 180 instructional days and 7 staff development days in the academic calendar.

According to proponents of the later start, it will save Texans money. Comptroller Carol Keeton Strayhorn estimates the early start in Texas right now is costing Texas nearly 790 million dollars a year.

Tom Mullins of the Tyler Economic Development Counsel agrees.

"Almost 800 million dollars worth of extra cost are incurred by the school districts statewide by starting earlier, because they have to keep buildings cooler and all the extra staffing costs," says Mullins.

Another benefit to the late start is tourism dollars.

"Tourism is the largest industry in Texas and with school starting earlier and earlier, about one-third of tourist season has been taken away," says Mullins.

But how do school leaders feel about the issue. We asked TISD Superintendent David Simmons.

"I'm not sure if I am favoring schools starting after Labor Day. I do think summers have become to short. Districts don't have time to plan, it interferers with travel plans. I'd like to think there is some sort of compromise that can be reached. I think there should be a level of local control," says Simmons.

Other districts like Tatum ISD also fear the loss of local control. The proposed bills may also cut out some traditional holidays or end the school year later, two factors for parents and educators to consider.

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