Texas State Senator Van Taylor filed a bill this morning that would allow local school districts to choose their start date.
The School Calendar Choice Act would repeal the uniform school start date, which is currently no earlier than the fourth Monday in August. The current start date causes the fall semester to be shorter than the spring semester.
“It is absurd that entrenched special interest groups have forced our local districts to deal with the challenges presented by unbalanced semester,” Taylor said in a press release. “After numerous meetings with local parents, school administrators and school boards, it is clear that allowing schools the flexibility to adjust their calendar is a commonsense solution that would yield meaningful results.”
Plano ISD board President Missy Bender brought this legislation to Taylor’s attention, according to the release.
“My fellow trustees and I are enthusiastic about opportunities to increase local control,” she said in the release. “We saw great benefit in becoming a District of Innovation and being able to remove certain constraints, allowing us to be more flexible and creative in serving our students.”
The bill causing schools to start no earlier than the fourth Monday in August passed in 2006 and was required by school districts unless they operated on a year-round basis.
This legislation has been discussed for more than two decades between the Legislature and school districts and the tourism industry, according to a PISD legislative request in 2013. School districts want to start earlier in August to maximize the number of school days available before state assessments while the tourism industry wants school districts to wait until after Labor Day to maximize summer tourism and availability of high school labor, according to the request.
Taylor covers Senate District 8, which includes the Collin County cities of Allen, Fairview, McKinney, Plano, a section of Frisco, Lucas, Murphy, Parker, Richardson and a portion of Dallas County.