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Press Release
March 27, 2001
Contact: Doris Sanchez
(512) 463-0127
Full Senate approves more reasonable start date legislation for Texas public schools

AUSTIN, TX--Today the Texas Senate approved legislation by state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, that sets a start date of no earlier than the week of August 21 for public schools in Texas.

"This is a wonderful victory for the school children of Texas," noted Sen. Lucio. "Although I would have preferred a later start date, Senate Bill 108 is a good compromise bill that will give school districts a wide range of options for a school start date based on more reasonable parameters."

The bill sets Sunday as the first day of the week, so if August 21 falls on a Saturday, then the date selected can be any week day prior to that Saturday. If August 21 falls on a Sunday, then any week day after Sunday can be chosen. The specific day would be selected by the school board in each district.

Schools operating as year-round for the 2000-2001 school year are exempt from the legislation.

"Through this legislation, Texas is saying that it cares about its children," said Sen. Lucio. "Moving the calendar to a later start date will help reduce absenteeism rates that are so high at the beginning of school, especially among migrant children."

One of the bill's co-authors, state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, said, "I hope that the bill will also win approval in the Texas House of Representatives. Kids need their summertime, and so do their families."

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, who is also a co-author, remarked that "SB 108 helps those children who must enter school later because of their parents' work schedules. The children of migrant workers deserve to have equal opportunity to succeed."

"I appreciate Sen. Lucio's commitment to developing a workable solution to the school start date issue. The bill we passed today provides the type of common sense solution the citizens of my Senate district and the state have been searching for," said state Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, and a co-author of SB 108.

"My legislation will also give youth an opportunity to work longer at summer jobs, save money in cooling costs of schools, reduce emissions in non-attainment areas, lower the time children ride overheated school buses or practice for extra curricular activities outdoors and give Texas families more time to spend together," added Sen. Lucio.

The bill will now go to the House for consideration.