S.B. 2571 has now become law and it returns the authority to set the start date of school to local school boards.
This bill was supported by all of the state’s educational organizations. It also garnered the support of Community Colleges and local school districts across the State.
The bill was originally a technical amendments bill requested by the Mississippi Department of Education. Early in the legislative process Senator Videt Carmichael offered an amendment on the Senate floor to repeal the Start Date of School Act of 2012. The amendment passed by a significant majority in the Senate.
Representative Nick Bain took the lead in the House and guided this bill through a series of votes which kept the bill from going to a Conference committee where the amendment would certainly have been removed. Through Rep. Bain’s efforts the House concurred with the Senate’s position and passed the bill on to the Governor.
Superintendents and school board members across this State are very grateful to Sen. Carmichael, Rep. Bain, and other legislators who supported this piece of legislation. We are also thankful to Governor Bryant for signing this bill into law and returning the decision on the start date of school back to the local school boards.
If the bill had not been signed into law there would be many unintended consequences. One example would be that students enrolled in dual enrollment classes could stand to lose the college credit portion because it was not completed before the end of first semester. Seniors planning to take summer classes at a Community College would be hampered by the fact that some of the summer classes start as early as May 24 and the regular school year would not have ended by that date. The action of our legislative leaders has helped us avoid a significant number of unintended consequences for our students.
Dr. Sam Bounds is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents.