Bill to Standardize the Public School Calendar

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Some lawmakers want to standardize the public school calendar throughout the state.

If passed, students would go back to school after Labor Day and finish the school year no earlier than the Friday before Memorial Day. It would start with the 2006-2007 school year. There would be an exception for districts that are on a year-round class schedule. Local Representative Lynn Hefley is sponsoring the bill.

The bill says the start and end date of classes varies widely across the state. So, a standardized schedule would help parents, especially when they move their family, make sure their children are in school on time.

The bill also says many students get summer jobs, and are needed to work through the Labor Day weekend, especially in the tourism sector.

But some local school districts don’t like the plan.

“We don’t believe in one size fits all,” said District 49 spokesman Joe Cole.

“We’re definitely very happy with our schedule and don’t feel like tourism should be driving what the school and how it dictates our schedule,” said Cole.

Administrators at School District 11 worry that by starting a few weeks later, students would have less instruction time before the Colorado Student Assessment Program or CSAP, which is taken in February.

“Everyone is in fear the CSAP tests will drop because of less instruction,” said District 11 spokeswomen Elaine Naleski.

Naleski also says the fall semester would probably not finish until after Winter Break, if the Calendar is changed.

The bill will be debate by the Joint Education Committee Thursday at the State Capitol.