Buses will be running, classroom doors will be open and the lesson will begin once again on Monday as most area schools open and classes resume for the fall semester.

Law enforcement agencies have reminded motorists to watch for students going to and from school as the new year gets under way.

Brownwood police will make an extra enforcement effort in school zones when school starts Monday, Police Chief Virgil Cowin said.

Police will also be on the lookout for motorists who pass school buses that are stopped to load or unload children, or who disregard speed limits in school zones, Cowin said.

“Do not go around school buses that are stopped to load or unload children,” Cowin said. “Watch out for kids in crosswalks. There will be tickets issued if you violate laws around schools.

“Safety is number one — safety of our children.”

He said he urges motorists to be very cautious in school zones and watch out for children. Signs mark the zones where reduced speed limits will be enforced.

The Texas Legislature specified Aug. 27 as the earliest allowed starting date for public schools in the state, and put teeth in the law by making exemptions all but impossible to obtain. In recent years, the legislature had stated a particular starting date, but exemptions were common.

A study by the Texas Comptroller’s Office determined that early school start dates and a shortened summer tourist season annually cut an estimated $332 million out of tourist economies in Texas, and migrant farm workers lose out on another $27 million in earnings foregone. The old structure of the school year may also be costing the districts as much as $10 million in higher cooling costs each year.

School starting dates in Texas have been moving earlier in August since a law was repealed in 1990 that required schools to start no earlier than the week in which Sept. 1 fell. For example, Houston started classes on Aug. 27 in 1990 but Aug. 16 in 1999. Fort Worth’s first day went from Aug. 27 to Aug. 9 in the same period. Beaumont’s first day changed from Sept. 3 to Aug. 9. The earliest start date in the 1999-2000 school year was in Plano ISD, which began the school year on Aug. 2, according to comptroller records.