Bill Would Stop Schools From Starting Early

Montgomery, AL – Two state legislators say they'll introduce bills that would block public schools from starting classes before August 21. Representative Craig Ford of Gadsden and Senator Zeb Little of Cullman say they'll file the bills to be considered during the next regular session. That session begins in February. Ford and Little filed similar bills last year, but the issue did not come up for a vote. Ford says starting school later would help schools comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act by giving them more time to get required test scores to parents before the start of school. He says the state could lose $220 million in federal funding if it fails to follow that requirement. The legislators also argue that delaying the start of school would extend the tourism season later into the month of August and would generate more taxes for the state. The Alabama Association of School Administrators and the Alabama Association of School Boards both opposed the bills last year.