House Bill 95

It's not summer yet, but an area coalition is working to push the start of school back.

Save Our Summers Kentucky is a grassroots coalition that began in Barren County.

The group's website says it wants the General Assembly to pass legislation requiring schools not start before the fourth Monday in August.

The concern is that the late start date has an effect on students, teachers, and tourism.

In the past, school boards have told WBKO that there are certain requirements they have to meet under No Child Left Behind.

House Bill 95 would prohibit school districts from establishing the first instructional day of school until the fourth Monday in August.

State legislators said they've met with both sides of the issue and are still gathering data as well as seeing what other states are doing.

"I can understand where some of the parents are coming from, but I also understand what the school boards are talking about. There have been additional days added to the calendar, they have fall breaks and that sort of thing," said Senator Richie Sanders.

Legislators say some believe the testing period drives when school starts. Now they're looking at moving the CATS testing back which would allow the school boards to begin school later if they choose to do so.

"We want to move the testing back toward the middle to the end of May, toward the end of the school year," said Senator Brett Guthrie.

"Usually by the time CATS testing's over there's still a couple of weeks left over and not a whole lot going on," said Representative Jim DeCesare.

Guthrie also said several school districts across the state have year-round or alternative calendars because their students have higher achievement rates due to the way they schedule their time.

"I would hate to lose the achievement particularly in lower areas because we mandate that we have to have vacations in August," said Guthrie.

Rep.Johnny Bell said both sides of the issue have strong arguments and he hopes they can all meet in the middle.

"I wish that there was some type of compromise where everyone could meet in a medium and we could do something to make sure our educators were able to continue with their success and also to benefit our tourism people," said Bell.

Rep. DeCesare said if the bill goes forward he wants to add an amendment that year-round calendars will not be affected by the legislation.

For more information on Save Our Summers Kentucky you can log onto
http://savekentuckysummers.com/.

For more information on what your local legislators are working on you can log onto http://www.kentuckyvotes.org/.


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