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Senate Bill Suggests Oklahoma School Calendar Shift

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Sykes bill would let school districts reformat their school calendars to August 1 through April 30. Sykes bill would let school districts reformat their school calendars to August 1 through April 30.
MOORE, Oklahoma -

Building shelters to withstand the storms is one solution, but the Moore School District asked what if it could avoid the peak of tornado season and end school before May even begins.

"Are students going to be more safe at home, or are they going to be more safe at school?" Moore Superintendent Dr. Robert Romines asked.

"I've learned the hard way never say never," Dr. Romines added.

While the conversation about school storm shelters is alive and well, Dr. Romines and Moore native Senator Anthony Sykes feel they may have found a solution.

"Move a couple of weeks and avoid that danger," Senator Sykes suggested.

Sykes' bill recommends a shift in the school calendar. The bill has passed through committee and now awaits the senate floor.

"This is just another arrow in the quiver that we're firing up here in the legislature to make sure kids are safe," Sykes said.

This time it's not putting in shelters, it's avoiding the month of May.

Sykes' bill would let school districts reformat their school calendars to August 1 through April 30.

"If the local school board thinks it's in the best interest, then they can do this," Sykes said.

"We could begin to have conversations to begin toward that kind of school calendar," Dr. Romines added.

The effort comes from data at the National Weather Service, which found that from 1950-2011 Cleveland County has been hit by 30 tornadoes in the month of May, almost three times more than any other month.

"We have to be practical about this," Sykes said.

Practical is what Dr. Romines understands.

"It's not something that couldn't be done overnight," Dr. Romines said.

State testing requirements and facility training all take place during April and May, so reformatting the calendar is easier said than done.

"There would be a lot homework and a lot of study in regards to what the community needs were," Dr. Romines said.

If the bill is signed into law, each school board will have to give notice to the State Board of Education before the school year begins.

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