Students in Fort Worth ISD could get Election Day off this year.
The school board is considering a proposal that would make Nov. 8 a student day off. Trustees are expected to vote on the item at their Sept. 27 meeting.
More than 30 schools in Fort Worth ISD are used as Election Day voting sites, according to district officials. Having voters come to campus and ensuring students are safe has been tricky in the past, interim Superintendent Karen Molinar told trustees during a Sept. 13 workshop.
If you go
What: Fort Worth ISD school board’s next regular meeting
When: 5:30 p.m. Sept. 27
Where: Fort Worth ISD Teach & Learning Center, 1050 Bridgewood Drive
Fort Worth ISD is following other Texas districts in closing schools on Election Day. Dallas ISD and Keller ISD in North Texas, North East ISD in San Antonio and Brownsville ISD in the Rio Grande Valley are among the districts that will make Nov. 8 a day off for students.
The change would affect almost all campuses excluding the district’s early college high schools, which are on a different calendar than other schools.
“We’re able to keep those campuses safe, and not allow any visitors to wander throughout our buildings,” Molinar said. “We just feel like for 32 sites, safety and security should always be at the forefront.”
Campus monitors and school resource officers will be sent to voting sites in Fort Worth ISD campuses.
If approved, Fort Worth ISD would be able to do this because it has additional minutes planned for student instruction. Districts are required to provide at least 76,500 minutes of instruction every year, according to the Texas Education Agency. Before the 2015-16 academic year, schools were required to provide at least 180 days of instruction.
As for teachers and staff, they would still be required to show up to work. Nov. 8 would become a professional development day, Molinar said.
Once the school board gives the OK, administrators plan to submit a waiver to TEA to allow for an additional staff development day.
The day off could make it easier for students who are eligible to vote to cast their ballots on Nov. 8. Trustee Anael Luebanos reminded the school board that the last day to register to vote for the upcoming election is coming soon on Oct. 11.
Luebanos has hosted voter registration events geared toward students to help them get ready to cast their ballots for the first time. He noted that National Voter Registration Day is coming soon on Sept. 20.
“I am encouraging all stakeholders, most especially students, to join the country in celebrating democracy by registering to vote and celebrating National Voter Registration Day,” he said.
Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.