House seeks repeal of later school start mandate

1STOCK _Education UPDATE AppleBooksDeskDaily Journal, wire reports

JACKSON – House leaders are giving up on requiring school to start later in August.

The House passed Senate Bill 2571 Tuesday, repealing a 2012 law saying public schools can start class no earlier than August’s third Monday.

The bill was held for more debate. If House members reject that, it would go to Gov. Phil Bryant for his consideration.

Proponents of local control voted 66-52 to reject changes that would have sent the bill to the Senate for more work.

House Education Chairman John Moore, R-Brandon, says superintendents pressured House members to repeal the law.

Districts can’t start before Aug. 18 this year under current law.

Most districts have been starting earlier.

Gulf Coast tourism officials persuaded lawmakers to set the later date, saying more vacation would boost the economy.

Tupelo already has approved a calendar with the later start, but Superintendent Gearl Loden said the district will revise that if the repeal is signed by the governor. Under the new draft, school would start on Aug. 4, graduation would be May 15 and the last day for other students would be May 20, pending board approval.

“Allowing us to go back to our traditional calendar will allow us to have our semesters more evenly divided, will allow us to have exams before Christmas and will allow us to end school before Memorial Day,” Loden said.

Superintendents in New Albany, Monroe County and Lee County also said they would push up their start dates. Monroe County likely would begin on Aug. 7 and New Albany on Aug. 11, pending board approval.

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