Holtzclaw: School calendar bill is dead

Sen. Holtzclaw
Sen. Holtzclaw

MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) - For months, Alabama schools and parents have been in limbo when it comes to the 2013-2014 schedule.

Alabama Senator Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) proposed a bill that would give schools more flexibility in how they handle their scheduling. The bill was a response to a law passed last year that eliminated fall break and forced a later school start date.

Several school systems even put out two schedules - one to be used if the bill passed, the other if nothing changed.

Now, Holtzclaw says those alternate schedules won't be needed. "I consider the bill dead" Holtzclaw wrote on his blog. Holtzclaw says the education committee chairman (Montgomery Republican Dick Brewbaker), added an amendment to the bill that made it moot. The amendment would have delayed implementation of the bill until after the 2013-2014 school year. Holtzclaw says his bill was designed to go into effect immediately.

The Madison Senator wrote that opponents of his bill used a classic "delay and defend" tactic to stop him. " They recognized early on that time was on their side. Everyone knows the current school year is winding down and next year's calendars must be set so as to accommodate school maintenance cycles, training, etc over the summer break. The opposition knew that if they could delay moving my bill through the legislative process."

Speaking with the Raycom News Network Thursday in Montgomery, Holtzclaw says he tried to come up with a compromise that should have pleased everyone. "I feel like we laid out a great compromise on the table, that was going to allow them to make the bill permanent requiring the mandatory statewide calendar to be in place, so long as they had an opt out provision to allow some local school systems to opt out. Unfortunately they were short sighted in their vision of it"

Still, fall break may yet return. The bill passed in 2012 expires at the end of the 2014 school year, meaning that schools will regain control of their calendars in 2014-2015. Unless another similar law to the 2012 bill is passed.

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