Bill would restrict when districts could start school year

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A debate over when the public school year should begin in Missouri is pitting tourism against education officials.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Missouri House has approved a bill that would ban schools from starting earlier than 14 days before the first Monday in September.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

Rep. Jeff Knight, a Republican from Lebanon, says starting school before late August is hurting the state’s tourism industry. Knight’s district includes areas near the Lake of the Ozarks.

Supporters include amusement park operators and groups representing hotels, campgrounds and river outfitters.

But Mike Reid of the Missouri School Boards’ Association said local school boards should decide when academic years start in their communities. Associations serving school boards, teachers and school administrators oppose the bill.

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