Longer Summer for Students
But some school officials worry about what the measure could mean for the future. The bill requires schools across Missouri to start classes no more than ten days before Labor Day. Some districts think this will make the already difficult task of scheduling the school year even tougher.
"School districts are trying to lots of schedules into their calendar, so having as much flexibility as possible appears to have been a good thing for them. Now, having one more limiting factor will make it even more challenging," Dr. Phyllis Chase, Superintendent of Columbia Schools, said.
Some Missouri schools, like Hickman High School in Columbia, won't be affected by the bill because their dates already comply with the bill, but many superintendents said they are disappointed in the legislature's attempts to dictate their school calendars.
One superintendent says the bill ignores the needs of individual school districts.
"The broader question is, who's decision is it? And I think it's the decision of state elected officials, not the legislative officials," Dr. Mark Enderle, Superintendent of Fulton Public Schools, said.
Many Missouri schools' starting dates already follow the new bill.
Still, some officials worry about fallout.
"I think the affect the bill has, this particular bill, is negligible. If this is a stepping stone to a little more strident bill in a future legislative session, then that would change," Enderle said.
Despite the criticism from school districts, bill sponsor, Jack Goodman of Mount Vernon said they simply want to give students more vacation.
Goodman said, "There's nothing wrong with giving kids more time with their parents during the summer."
The bill does allow for a public meeting in each district to override the restriction if a school wants to start earlier.Most schools make their calendars two years in advance, so this bill won't go into affect until the student 2008-2009 school year.