Bill would extend school hours to ease the burden on working parents

Reporter: Nicole Gabe
Published: Updated:
Class in session at a Lee County school. Photo via WINK News.
Class in session at a Lee County school. Photo via WINK News.

It is a little after 4 p.m. – where are your kids? Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris said they should still be in school. Her plan calls for extending the school day by three hours to ease the burden on working parents.

Jazmayne Carter said even with the help of her wife, it is hard to balance work and a family, saying it is pretty hectic. They work alternate schedules to make sure someone is always with their kids. “Right now, she’s doing morning hours and I would have to do evening hours,” Carter said. “So once I start, we really have to have a strict schedule and hopefully, the employers are willing to work with it.”

But a new bill proposed by Harris, The Family Friendly Schools Act, might make life easier for working parents. The legislation calls for elementary students to go to school from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Lucy Stevens acknowledges the bill would be convenient for parents. “But I just think it would be a long day for the kids,” she said.

Kevin Daly, with the Teachers Association of Lee County, notes positives and negatives as well. While he does not cite specific details within the plan, he told WINK News teachers have a large workload and the additional hours might not be met with a favorable reception.

If the legislation passes, not only would the school hours extend by three hours, an over $1 billion investment would be allocated for the implementation of programs in the summer when school is not in session. The legislation would not force teachers to work for additional hours or for less compensation.

The bill also designates that schools would only close on weekends, federal holidays and emergencies. It is something that makes Carter in favor of the bill. “Like that something that would definitely help a lot of working parents,” she said, “especially single working parents.”

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