House bill would bar schools from starting classes before September

Apr 25, 2013

A State House Representative introduced a bill today that may change school calendars across Missouri, but would affect school districts differently.

Republican Representative Steve Cookson introduced a bill that would allow a school district to not have a required minimum number of days if the district schedules at least 1,078 hours of attendance. It would also change the earliest opening date for school to be no earlier than Sept. 1, and the last day of school to be no later than May 31. Mike Wood is a lobbyist for the Missouri State Teachers Association, who said he questioned the bill.

“By restricting when a school has to start and when a school has to end by, we think it’s too much restriction on local control of the local school boards to be able to establish a calendar that’s best for their community," Wood said.

Columbia School Board Member Jonathon Sessions said Columbia’s calendar requirement is based off of days, not hours.

“Since they’re not changing the minimum day requirement, and that’s the calculation that we look at from the Columbia Public Schools, then it will have little to no effect on Columbia Public Schools," Sessions said.

Columbia Public Schools, though, are slated to begin classes on Aug. 20 in fall 2013.

The Superintendent of Kirksville Public Schools Patrick Williams said it would shorten the school year in Kirksville by a week, which would make life for the faculty more difficult.

“That would make it just increasingly difficult to accomplish all the curriculum material that needs to be covered, state testing that we must build in," Williams said.