School confusion over MLK Day Holiday

Despite Martin Luther King Jr. Day being a federal holiday, it was business as usual for some area school districts. Some held classes, while others chose to hold teacher workshops. In Amarillo, schools took the day off. So why does it vary from district to district?

Dr. King fought for equality. A passionate man, who forever changed our country. So why is it, some school districts don't close in observance of the holiday? Claude and Highlight Park independent School District are some of the many that carried on with business as usual. While others like Canyon Independent School District had an in-service day for teachers, and Amarillo closed completely.

"Schools set their own calendars, there are some limitations from the state you can't start school before the fourth week of August. You can go as late as you want in the summer," said Jadie Matthew, Claude Independent School District Superintendent.

Because of state law, districts are limited on the number of days they can have off. Matthew says districts adjust their school schedule yearly to what they feel best suit their agenda, and a committee votes on it.

"We have several holidays we work on, and one of the big areas of emphasis here is its important people here are out before the first of June, to be finished. What that entails is you only having a certain number of days between that fourth Monday of August and first of June. So basically, if we took today(Monday)off we'd be in school may be at Easter, it's just a trade off," said Matthew

He also says right now, STAAR testing is just around the corner and they want to use everyday they can to prepare students for the rigor of the test.

"One of our considerations in days in the spring is we do have the STAAR coming up. Any day we miss right now is a prime teaching day".

But for parents, the difference in schedules between districts can be confusing.

"They should all be adhering to the federal holidays and it does get kind of confusing when you've got some schools that are totally in, or just the teachers are in, that sort of thing, especially when you've got different school districts within the same town," said Donna Hughes, Canyon ISD Parent.

This is actually the first year, Amarillo ISD teachers and staff did not have to work on MLK Day.