By Will Johnson
LATEXO – In 2015, the State of Texas changed its attendance requirements for public schools. The state had previously required 180 days of attendance during the school year. Under this policy, many districts rewarded both students and faculty with shortened days, especially on Fridays.
The 2015-2016 school year, however, saw implementation of a new attendance policy. Instead of the previous 180 day requirement, the Texas Legislature installed an attendance protocol based on minutes, not days. The new policy stated a school must provide a minimum of 75,600 minutes of instruction per year.
The 75,600 minute figure is based on seven hour school days and 180 days in the school year.
While most area schools were not affected, Latexo ISD has been. Because of a miscommunication or misunderstanding, the district was led to believe a waiver was in place allowing for an early dismissal of 2 p.m. on Fridays.
After consultations with the district’s attorneys, it was determined the 2 p.m. Friday dismissal should be removed immediately.
During a Tuesday, Jan. 9 meeting of the Latexo Independent School District Board, the trustees ratified the removal of the early dismissal and reverted back to a 3:30 p.m. dismissal for elementary students and 3:35 p.m. dismissal for high school students.
“We need to take the corrective action in order to be in compliance,” LISD Superintendent Dr. Stacy Easterly informed the LISD trustees.
A motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved to revert back to the original dismissal times of 3:30 and 3:35 p.m. – on Fridays – for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year.
A letter was sent to parents of LISD parents explaining the decision.
The letter stated: “Based on Texas Education Code 25.08 (a), Latexo ISD will be changing the instructional hours on Friday beginning Jan. 12. All students will be required to be in classes until the regular dismissal time (3:30 p.m. at the elementary and 3:35 p.m. at the high school). This will continue throughout the remainder of this school year. Please make arrangements to have your child(ren) here and in attendance for the full instructional day.”
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.