Last Tuesday, Huntsville City Schools took to social media urging parents to reach out to state legislators and express their concerns in regard to an Alabama bill that would potentially extend instructional time. To make up for lost break time, Rep. Steve Hurst and Sen. David Sessions may include a provision to add two hours to the school day resulting in eight-hour instructional days. Those in opposition of the bill are expressing the need to keep the calendar local.
The future school hours with proposed start/end times would appear as follows:
• Elementary – 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Middle School/Junior High – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• High School – 8:30 a.m. to 5:40 p.m.
Students would start school promptly on Sept. 8 with their first holiday being Veteran’s Day in November (only holiday required by law). The students would go to school for a total of 180 days per academic year and receive one day off for Thanksgiving break. The second semester of the academic year would begin Jan. 4 and run until May 28 without another break or holiday.
At the Opelika City School board meeting held last Thursday, the bill was discussed within the board.
“Our school calendar should be set by our local school board with community input. It is important that it reflects the values of our community and is fair to our teachers and students. Proposing a start date after Labor Day and an end date by Memorial Day eliminates and/or shortens holiday breaks valued by our teachers, students, and families,” said Opelika City Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Neighbors.
The Opelika City School board passed a resolution at the meeting last Thursday that would officially oppose the bill if introduced.
The Observer has contacted Lee County Schools and is awaiting a statement from Dr. Mac McCoy on this issue.