Alabama lawmaker's bill would move school start date closer to Labor Day

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( — An Alabama lawmaker is renewing his efforts to have the start of school moved back.

Rep. Craig Ford, I-Gadsden, plans to reintroduce legislation that would require schools start no earlier than two weeks before Labor Day. Labor Day this year falls on Sept. 3, meaning if the plan was in place, no schools could start before Aug. 20.

Ford introduced similar legislation in the 2017-2018 legislative session but it did not make it out of committee. In explaining his reasoning for the bill, Ford said the shortened summer vacation "hurts Alabama families."

"Kids no longer get to spend August playing, going to camp or doing some last-minute reading. Families miss out on important, quality vacation time together," Ford wrote in a Facebook post. "For teachers and other educators, the summer months are the only time they can do any professional development work, such as taking classes for an advanced degree or participating in training programs that help them learn more effective methods for teaching various subjects."

Currently, public schools in Alabama are required to have 180 days of student instruction or the hourly equivalent of 1,080 hours each year.

In 2012, Alabama's Legislature passed a bill mandating that school could not start earlier than the Monday two weeks before Labor Day and last no longer than the Friday immediately before Memorial Day The legislature failed to renew the measure in 2015, however, and systems reverted to earlier start dates.

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