By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – Tupelo students will start class on Aug. 18 next year and will observe the traditional spring break in March.
The School Board adopted the calendar for the 2014-15 school year during its regular meeting on Tuesday. It reflects a new state law that goes into effect this year preventing schools from starting before the third Monday in August.
Tupelo had been opening schools earlier in the month. This year, the first day was Aug. 5.
The calendar has gone through many drafts. Last month, the district presented two that had different options for spring break – a traditional week-long holiday in March and one that combined the holiday with Easter.
Superintendent Gearl Loden said the feedback he received led him to opt for the traditional break, aligning the district with what others in the region likely will do and with the state’s community colleges and universities.
Spring break will be March 9-13, and students will be off on April 3 and April 6 for Easter.
Other holidays include Labor Day (Sept. 1), Columbus Day (Oct. 13), Thanksgiving (Nov. 24-28), Christmas (Dec. 19-Jan. 5), Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 19) and Memorial Day (May 25). Graduation is May 29, and the school year ends on June 3.
The late start date will force the district to push exams after Christmas break. They will be held Jan. 9-14.
Loden said if the state legislature repeals the school start date law, the district may move the beginning of school earlier in August, allowing it to hold exams before Christmas.
New teachers will report on Aug. 1, and teachers must attend one day of training between Aug. 5-8. Staff will then report on Aug. 11. Other teacher work days include Dec. 19, Jan. 5 and June 4.