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Back to School Date Pushed Back for 2007

School used to start after Labor Day, but in recent years it's crept up to early August. Now it looks like students will get more of a summer, but are local school officials pleased with the change?

It was overshadowed by school finance during the legislature's special session. But now a little-known measure attached to the bill is coming to light. What it does is push back the start date for Texas schools.

"I just think it's an unfortunate decision that will severely mitigate our ability to have local control over our calendar," College Station Superintendent Jimmy Creel said.

While school officials were focused on issues like property taxes and school funding, lawmakers changed the start of school for 2007.

Students will go back to school no sooner than the fourth Monday in August, and all waivers that allowed school districts to start sooner in August have been taken away.

School districts are now finding themselves in planning mode for the August 27th start date, changing calendars and figuring out when to have semester exams.

"It will be difficult if not impossible for us to finish the first semester before the mid winter break, we don't think that makes sense instructionally," Creel said.

By law 177 days of classes must be held per year, finishing all of them by summer will be a challenge.

"We either have to cut out the holidays so that we can finish about the same time of the year or we continue the holidays and then we go into the summer," Creel said.

Over at Bryan I.S.D. officials say they'll just have to make it work.

"Well do whatever the state tells us to do and work it out," Sandy Farris with Bryan I.S.D. said.

The school district will work hard to keep semester exams before Christmas break and cut out some teacher in-service days to finish school at the end of May.

"I think on the whole parents would be pleased the only drawback would be another week of daycare," Farris said.

While school districts are scrambling to rearrange calendars, the end result will be the same for all, more school for Texas students.

The 2006-2007 school year will start on August 15th for Bryan and College Station students.


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