by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A letter from Kathy Hartkopf of FreedomWorks raises concerns about House Bill 164, which has the purported aim of addressing school calendar flexibility.
Good Morning Legislators,
A few years ago, House Republican Leadership approached FreedomWorks and The John Locke Foundation with a bill that they claimed was “a good start” to reforming involuntary annexation in our state. Leadership wanted FreedomWorks, The Locke Foundation, and the annexation reform community to support the bill. The bill made a couple of minor changes but was not annexation reform. The League supported the bill – which said a great deal to us and should have said a great deal to House Republican Leadership. Our groups opposed the bill, making clear that if we supported and the body passed a bill that claimed to reform annexation but did not, our important issue would be dead in the water. Our chance of true reform would have, at best, been set back for years. The body would have been able to say that they had reformed involuntary annexation when in fact they had not. The bill offered to us was as my Granddaddy Major, a lifelong commercial fisherman would have said, “a red herring”! The bill failed and shortly thereafter, we truly reformed involuntary annexation!
Such is the same with H164, “School Calendar Flexibility”. H164, “School Calendar Flexibility” is not school calendar flexibility at all. H164, “School Calendar Flexibility” is nothing more than a red herring!
The reality is that H164 allows nothing that is not already allowed. Current law defines a public school calendar year as 1,025 hours or 185 days. H164 merely just speaks of hours. Schools could already be basing calendars only on hours. Most do not as it would not make for appropriate education policy. H164 speaks of exams before Christmas. Schools could already be doing that but under the current calendar law and under H164, it would not make for sound education policy.
The reality is that the passage of H164 would allow the body to say that they have returned flexibility and local control when in reality they would have not. The extremely high number of calendar flexibility bills clearly shows that members support true calendar flexibility for their districts.
The reality is that the passage of H164 will set this important issue back as opposed to helping us move it forward. …