Modified school schedule includes classes on MLK Day

First Christmas break, now Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Some school systems in Alabama have had no choice this school year but to cut back on the number of typical days off. During the 2012 legislative session, state lawmakers passed a law that forbids any public school to begin until August 20 and the school year must end before Memorial Day. The idea is to give families more time to visit Alabama beaches and other tourist attractions.

For many school systems, the new edict came after school schedules had been printed. That left school boards scrambling to figure out how to get in the 180 days of teaching instruction within the new time constraints. Something had to give.

For Oneonta City Schools that meant shortening Christmas break to seven school days from the planned two week break. Martin Luther King, Jr. day also had to become a school instruction day.

Superintendent Scott Coefield said he had received several phone calls about holding school Monday. "We meant no disrespect," he said. "I am sensitive to the concerns." Coefield said his system expects to have President's Day off, unless it needs a snow day. That is the only other day that has not been used.

Coefield is going to wait until the end of the 2013 legislative session before making out next year's school calendar. There have been reports the law dictating when school begins and ends could be modified to allow each school district some discretion.