School calendar changes forced

Published 9:18am Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Students in the Shelby County and Hoover school systems will get an extended summer break this year after the state Legislature passed a new law requiring schools start no earlier than two weeks before Labor Day and end before Memorial Day.

Schools in both systems will start on Aug. 20, and the school year will not include built-in inclement weather days for either system. Both systems have also moved professional work days and the Hoover system will not observe President’s Day in an effort to make sure students get the required amount of instructional time.

While there have been mixed reactions to the new school calendars in Shelby County and Hoover City schools, it’s apparent that officials in both systems are simply doing the best they can to follow the state mandate while also providing students with the best education possible.

While we understand that this move was made in hopes of enhancing Alabama’s summer tourism season, we hope plans are in place to review any effect this move has, good or bad, on the tourism season and on education across the state.

While there are advantages to having fairly uniform start and end dates for schools across the state, we agree with Shelby County School Board member Peg Hill, who said she hopes one day the state Legislature will see fit to put school calendar decisions back in the hands of local school boards and employees.

No one knows the needs of Shelby County or Hoover’s school systems better than the board members and system employees who constantly work with parents, faculty and students from across the systems.

Those board members and system employees are likely best suited to decide when the school year should start and end, while also making decisions about the schedule of instructional days in between, rather than having those decisions taken out of their hands by the Alabama Legislature.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.

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