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Missouri bill aimed at restricting school district start date moves forward

School Start Date

DIAMOND, Mo. - A Missouri bill that would ban schools from starting earlier than two weeks before the first Monday in September has passed the House and moved on to the Senate with support from the tourism industry.

Darnell Jennings is a father of four young children, all big fans of summer and time off from school.

"We go swimming, to the park, aquarium...We even take trips to the baseball game, you know, just a variety of things."

Jennings hopes future summers with his children will be even longer and filled with more activities as he awaits the outcome of a Missouri bill that would prohibit schools from starting earlier than 14 days before the first Monday in September.

"I think it's a good idea because the kids get to have a little extra fun for the summer and it does bring a little more revenue to the towns, so I think it's a plus for both sides," said Jennings.

While the tourism industry is backing the bill, school officials like superintendent Steve Hubbard have concerns.

"They're trying to stretch out that season and we get that. However, districts have long-time been able to mandate their calendars and be able to run their own schedules, so that's going to be a difficult transition, if that comes to be," explained Hubbard.

Like many districts, Diamond goes back to school around August 15, but with testing, summer school and other activities to fit into the year, Hubbard warns a later start date means a later end date.

"It doesn't just affect September and August, it'll affect May and June as well. So, I think that big picture is just what everybody has some concerns over."

For parents like Jennings, though, a longer summer just means more time to educate his kids one-on-one.

"Even if they do got two extra weeks out of school for the summer, you'll have two extra weeks to teach them something yourself, so I think it's a good thing," said Jennings.

There are more than 500 school districts in the state of Missouri that would be impacted by the change.


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