School's starting up, but first days may vary - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

School's starting up, but first days may vary

Longview students register for school which starts August 28. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV. Longview students register for school which starts August 28. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV.

School districts in East Texas are not all starting on the same date. Some start August 21, some on the 28. It varies from district to district.

We caught up with an East Texas Assistant Superintendent at Longview High School’s senior registration to find out why different districts chose different start dates.

There are 75,600 reasons why school start dates vary in East Texas, and all over the state, and they’re all the same: minutes. Longview Assistant Superintendent James Brewer says days vary because:

“The minutes are in place this year, and not days,” Brewer said.

So, rather than 180 days, its 75,600 minutes. Passed in 2016, House Bill 2610 made the change.

“That way we can kind of have a flexible schedule and the students, they’re required to be in the classroom a certain amount of time, so they’ve broken it down to minutes,” Brewer explained.

But, of course, 180 days equals 75,600 minutes based on a 420-minute school day. And now a district can request to start school on a different day than the suggested date of August 28.

“We decided to go with the traditional school date, but the minutes are the same for all of us,” Brewer stated.

Some schools are opting for slightly longer days to meet the requirements.

“On our elementary campus we had to make that day longer to fit the minutes in,” Brewer said.

He says at the high school level they are already 17,000 minutes over the limit so they didn’t have to change school hours to comply.

“If a student is five minutes late, does he have to wait another five minutes to graduate?” I asked Brewer.

“What we try to do with that, we make sure that if you are late, you have so many days that you are late and then we look at it as an absence and then you make that up,” Brewer replied.

He says it also is based on the graduation date, which is set before the school year starts. But any way it’s measured, it’s still about to be nine months until that next summer break.

The assistant superintendent says there are actually a few schools in the state that put in extra hours each day to have a four day school week.

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