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Superintendents: Keep calendars in local hands

Local school superintendents this week say they do not support possible legislation to force a mandatory Labor Day to Memorial Day school calendar.

This is also discussion to potentially add hours to the school day to accommodate for the shorter window of time for instruction days.

Andalusia City Schools Superintendent Ted Watson said that he had spoken with Rep. Mike Jones and Sen. Jimmy Holley who have pledged their support for the decision to remain local.

“The issue with this is that it does not give you much time to schedule holidays,” Watson said. “With this calendar, you can’t have a full two weeks at Christmas or a week at Thanksgiving, and possibly no spring break.”

Watson said that families plan their vacations around holidays are going to take their vacations.

“This will create absentee issues,” he said. “We are graded on absenteeism on report cards.”

Opp City Schools Superintendent Michael Smithart said that any legislation mandating that calendar would be a train wreck.

“There’s only about 190 possible days to even have school in that timeframe,” he said. “You would either have to give up spring break or attend school on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. There just aren’t any options.”

Smithart said that these are local decisions that should be based upon the needs and priorities of the local communities.

“There’s little or no economic advantage,” he said. “Folks adjust vacations to the school calendar and with no breaks, absenteeism will increase.”