Lawmaker Wants Kentucky Schools to Push Back First Day of School

Aug 12, 2015

State Sen. Damon Thayer
Credit LRC Public Information

  Kentucky students would start the school year later under legislation that will be considered in the 2016 General Assembly.

State Senator Damon Thayer will sponsor a bill that would send students back to school in late August. Some education leaders believe the start date should remain a local decision, but Thayer argues the legislature should have a say.

"I'm a big supporter of local control, but there are plenty of decisions and policies set at the state level," Thayer said. "I think that's appropriate, hence the state, General Assembly, appropriates hundreds of millions of dollars from the taxpayers every year to go back to local school districts."

The rest of the calendar would still be at the discretion of local school districts. State Senator Chris Girdler of Somerset is co-sponsoring the bill.

Thayer argues an earlier start date has a negative effect on the tourism economy.

"There are no high school kids available to work at our resort parks, our state parks, marinas, golf courses, swimming pools, amusement parks," Thayer said. "And there's no one to attend, either, because they're all back in school."

Thayer also says a later start date would save on energy costs since temperatures are typically highest in August.

All Kentucky school districts are required to have 1,062 instructional hours and no less than 170 student attendance days each academic year.