Bill would let schools say when classes start

Monday, February 11, 2002

Twenty years ago, Missouri's tourism industry successfully lobbied for a state law requiring public schools to open after Sept. 1. This was to allow more time for family travel and longer employment opportunities for school-age workers.

But the law had a loophole: Schools could start earlier if they claimed an exemption for students who work on farms. It wasn't long before just about every district became agricultural. Last year, all but 10 of the state's 524 districts started school before Sept. 1.

Give some credit to state Rep. Barbara Fraser of St. Louis, who is sponsoring a bill to remove the Sept. 1 rule and allow local school boards to decide when to start school.

At least city schools won't have to worry about milking the cows or picking corn anymore.

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