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Proposed bill would limit school calendar flexibility

By becoming a District of Innovation, Frisco ISD and other school districts have more control over their school year calendar allowing for different start and end dates. However, Rep. Matt Krause (R-Ft. Worth) has proposed a bill that would eliminate this calendar flexibility.

Wade Glover

By becoming a District of Innovation, Frisco ISD and other school districts have more control over their school year calendar allowing for different start and end dates. However, Rep. Matt Krause (R-Ft. Worth) has proposed a bill that would eliminate this calendar flexibility.

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School districts such as Frisco ISD, which is one of more than 100 in the state designated as an Innovation District by the Texas Education Agency, would not be allowed to modify the start and end date of the school year under House Bill 1865 proposed by Rep. Matt Krause (R-Ft. Worth).

“Having our schools start and end their school years together will be a great benefit to our state,” Krause said in an article on LocalNewsOnly.com. “It’ll give families more predictable summer holiday schedules and better support the industries that revolve around summertime travel and recreation.”

Having our schools start and end their school years together will be a great benefit to our state,”

— Rep. Matt Krause (R-Ft. Worth)

Currently there is a legislative mandate the requires public schools start no later than the Tuesday after Labor Day and end no earlier than the Friday after Memorial Day. However, school districts can apply for an exemption from these guidelines as part of the District of Innovation plan which is an amendment to Chapter 12 of the Texas Education Code.

Frisco ISD is one those districts that applied to become a District of Innovation and if Krause’s bill becomes law, the district would have to adjust its calendar.

The approved guideline states that Frisco ISD may start school as early as the second Monday of August, with preference given to the third Monday,” FISD Assistant Director of Communications Department Meghan Cone said in an email reply. “This measure would definitely impact Frisco ISD’s ability to start school on the second or third Monday in August, since the exception allowed Frisco ISD to schedule the first day of the 2017-18 school year on August 21, which is the third Monday in August, and close the school year on June 1.”

According to Krause, he introduced the bill as a way to create a standard among schools and as a measure to hold DOI’s accountable.

This year my kids will be out of school one week earlier than me, even given that we started on the same day,”

— Spanish teacher Lindsey Bowe

“Right now, they are really just districts with exemptions,” Krause said to Community Impact. “We don’t know if it is benefiting our educational environment at all.”

The start and end date of each school year helps determine the entire school calendar impacting  breaks, holidays and professional development days. For teachers who live outside Frisco ISD, the lack of uniformity in school calendars can lead to teachers having a different calendar than their own children.

“My kids have different breaks than I do,” Spanish teacher Lindsey Bowen said. “This year my kids will be out of school one week earlier than me, even given that we started on the same day. Their school has early releases as well – and FISD doesn’t seem to use those available early release dates like small districts do.”

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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas
Proposed bill would limit school calendar flexibility