Friday, February 10, 2017 - Updated: 10:54 AMKentucky students’ first day of school may happen later than usual if state lawmakers approve legislation that allows for more flexibility in designing the annual calendar and incentivizes end-of-August start dates.
The state Senate easily passed Senate Bill 50, which encourages school districts to delay the first day of school, with bipartisan support Thursday afternoon. Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, was the only person who voted against it.
Now the proposal will be reviewed by Kentucky’s House of Representatives. “This was a really strong vote,” said Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, SB 50’s sponsor. “I feel really strongly about the bill and feel good that it’s heading down to the House with a full head of steam.” In general, Kentucky requires public school districts to have a minimum of 170 days of instruction per year with at least 1,062 hours of instructional time.
But if SB 50 becomes law, districts could opt to delay their start date at least until the Monday closest to Aug. 26, beginning with the 2018-19 schedule. If they do, the state would allow them to use a “variable student instructional year” that still must meet the state-mandated minimum of 1,062 hours but would not have to fulfill the 170-day requirement.