Alabama School-Year Calendar Changes

Some area school districts may send their calendars back in time if certain legislation passes putting every Alabama public school staring within the same week.

For one, this would take some schools off what’s called the Block, or modified Block Schedule. It would also go back to a later start date, no fall break, and perhaps a shorter spring break.

But this could be the last time local boards of education have control over the school-year calendar.

A Gadsden representative is proposing to the state legislature a way to regulate all school colanders. Under this plan schools would begin no earlier than Aug. 23, and no later than Aug. 30. It would also eliminate the some of the breaks the students get during semesters, and extend the summer break.

But some area education leaders say that would not be beneficial.

“I've had no complaints with parents and students. I think they're satisfied with how it is set up. How it's set up now you have breaks between and it keeps student and teachers fresh,” says Dale County Supt. Phillip Parker.

Supporters of the unified calendar say this would boost tourism revenue, allowing a greater vacation season, and it would eliminate a burden some parents may have when looking for a day care provider during the brief breaks.

But, school leaders around here say that's not what's best for the students.

“If it was what's best for me, we might have a three month summer, or a four month summer. But it it's for the kids,” explains Ozark City Schools Supt. Dr. Dan Payant.

In the Wiregrass most schools begin around the same time, but it differs during the breaks. But leaders say it would not be beneficial if all schools took breaks at the same time.

“I don't see where this needs to be a legislative issue,” Payant adds.

Alabama public schools have some state regulations on when they can begin.

No school can have a full day before Aug. 7, and some can't start before Aug. 10.

Representative Ford says he plans on proposing the new law for school calendar immediately after November elections.

Ford also says schools in Oklahoma and South Carolina who have adopted such a plan have saved as much as a half million dollars on air conditioning costs.