Breckenridge Texan

New school year kicks off today
August 17
05:00 2017

Today, for the first time in two and a half months, Breckenridge school students will be sitting in the classroom again.

The beginning of the 2017-18 school year brings with it the need for awareness and caution by everyone in the community, not just the students and their families. There will be increased traffic – both vehicles and pedestrians – before and after school and at lunch time, especially around the schools.

Drivers need to be aware of reduced speed limits in the school zones, as well as the state law that prohibits drivers from using handheld devices – that means cell phones – for texting or talking – in school zones. Additionally, state law requires that approaching drivers stop when a school bus is stopped and operating a visual signal, such as red flashing lights or a stop sign. Drivers may not proceed until the bus resumes motion; the driver is signaled by the bus driver to proceed; or, the visual signal is no longer activated.

According to the Department of Public Safety, drivers who illegally pass school buses can face fines up to $1,250 for a first offense, and the ticket cannot be dismissed through defensive driving.

In addition to all of the traditional excitement of the first day of school, Breckenridge parents, kids and school employees have the added stress of dealing with a city-wide boil water notice. Due to a water line break, all customers using city water must boil tap water before consuming it. (For more details on the boil water notice, see the Breckenridge Texan’s story, City of Breckenridge under boil water notice until Friday.)

Breckenridge Independent School District Superintendent Tim Seymore said emergency water is stored at the District Services facility and has already been distributed to campuses. “The kitchen staff knows how to function (under a boil water notice),” he said. “They will start pots boiling when they get there for necessary cooking water. United Grocery is delivering donated water to campuses (Thursday), as well.”

This year, BISD schools are starting 11 days (seven school days) earlier than required by law. A post on the BISD Facebook page, explains that the district has been granted “District of Innovation” status, which exempts the district from certain laws, including the one requiring school to start on the fourth Monday in August.

“The District Improvement Committee and the School Board both felt starting a little earlier, but giving more breaks throughout the year, is better for both students and staff,” the explanation states. “Teachers will have planning times at the beginning of each six-weeks to allow them to get together and plan, cooperatively, the next six-weeks.”

That first break will come after just 12 days of school, when both staff and students get Sept. 4 off for Labor Day.

Story by Carla McKeown

Cutline: Breckenridge schools start the 2017-18 academic year today, a few days earlier than the state-mandated start date. Local officials chose to start school a little earlier but offer more breaks throughout the year to benefit both students and staff. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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