MCS school board passes resolution opposing statewide school calendar bill
MADISON – Madison City Schools joined other area school districts in publicly opposing the state setting a state-wide school calendar with mandatory start and end dates. The school board passed a resolution Thursday night against a new statewide school calendar bill.
“This is a resolution in response to proposed legislation in Montgomery to mandate a start date and end date for schools,” said MCS school board president Renae Bartlett. “We want to keep control (over the school calendar) local with local school systems who listen to their district’s parents, students and teachers and put all of those factors into place when formulating a school calendar each year.”
For several years tourism and business leaders, mostly along the Alabama Gulf Coast region, have fought to force local school districts to push back the school start date. Proponents have claimed that the shortened school year calendar will boost Alabama tourism revenue.
In 2012, legislation was passed that requires school to start no earlier than Aug. 20 and to end before Memorial Day. Legislators received numerous emails and phone calls from parents, teachers and administrators expressing their displeasure and frustration with passage of this law and control was eventually returned to the local districts.
Since then, other attempts have been made to once again mandate a set start time for the state’s school districts. Legislation was introduced for the 2017-2018 school year but if failed.
“We thank Madison legislators for siding with local school decision-making in a previous bill, and we have confidence the delegation will back local school calendar authority again,” Bartlett said.
The resolution passed by the Madison City school board Thursday night reads:
WHEREAS, the City of Madison Board of Education is aware that members of the Alabama Legislature may consider legislation that would outline school start and/or end dates for public schools in the state of Alabama; and
WHEREAS, each local board of education already is required by Alabama Code §16-8-30 to set a uniform start date for all schools within its system, thereby recognizing that school calendars are local decisions; and
WHEREAS, unique decisions take place in 137 Alabama school systems regarding student achievement, holiday preferences, community events, teacher professional development, partnerships with local colleges and universities, and workdays for educators to meet with parents; and
WHEREAS, the City of Madison Board of Education is charged with making decisions that are in the best interest of its students and student achievement; and
WHEREAS, the City of Madison Board of Education is held accountable for student achievement not only by the community, but under both state and federal accountability programs; and
WHEREAS, local decisions about school calendar directly impact student performance, student and faculty morale, and community input;
WHEREAS, a statewide school start date would compromise the Madison City school system’s academic calendar and force students to lose instructional time prior to standardized testing;
WHEREAS, Madison City’s academic calendar is an education priority and not a business or tourism decision; and
WHEREAS, the education community urges policymakers to Leave Our Calendar Authority Local
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the members of the City of Madison Board of Education unequivocally oppose statewide efforts to mandate a school calendar and ask all lawmakers representing Madison City School System to vote against any bill which proposes to outline a statewide start and/or end date for Alabama public schools.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be recorded in the board minutes and provided to the Alabama Association of School Boards, each member of its Legislative delegation and the Governor.