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By WILLIAM CROYLE
FRANKFORT — Two bills prefiled by a central Kentucky senator for the 2012 General Assembly would affect public school education across the state if passed.
The legislation, from Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, is Senate Bill 24 and Senate Bill 21.
SB24, which would amend an existing statute, would require a child to be 6 years old by Aug. 1 to enter a public school, and 5 years old by Aug. 1 to enter a primary school program. The current cutoff date in both cases is Oct. 1.
“It’s one of those concerns that’s been around for years,” Higdon said.
He said the school year used to often start in September after Labor Day, but most schools today begin in August - some close to the first of the month.
“It just seems like a common sense approach to change the date,” Higdon said.
He said data has not yet been gathered on how many students would be affected by such a change, and he has not yet heard any positive or negative feedback on the bill from his constituents.
“We’ll just put it out there and see what the discussion is,” Higdon said.
SB21, which would also amend a current statute, would “permit a school district to adjust its calendar to keep schools open on the days of a regular election, a special election, and a primary election if no school in the district is used as a polling place...” It would also allow a district to use an election day as a makeup day to recoup instructional time missed for reasons such as inclement weather or disasters.
The bill reiterates that schools would continue to be closed on presidential election days.
Schools are currently closed for instruction on all regular and primary election days, though they can be used for parent/teacher conferences or teacher professional development activities.
“A lot of schools are not used for polling places,” Higdon said, “so this bill would enable them to use a primary election day in May as a makeup day.”
The General Assembly’s 2012 regular session begins Jan. 3.