Gov. Phil Bryant on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 2571, a measure that repeals a 2012 law requiring all public school districts to start the school year no earlier than the third Monday in August.
Bryant’s signing of Senate Bill 2571l restores to local districts control of their school calendars as has been the historic practice.
The later start was mandated after an effective lobbying campaign by Gulf Coast tourism interests. Wednesday’s repeal follows an equally effective and intense effort by school boards, superintendents, principals and many others who flagged academic risks related to testing days and a divided first semester in the later start.
Opinions on all sides were freely expressed, but Bryant made the right decision.
The bill, as noted in a statement from the governor’s press office, also includes language to “amend state rules regarding withdrawal of school accreditation in A and B-rated districts. Under the new law, students in schools that lose accreditation for any reason other than academic failure or financial accountability can continue to participate in extracurricular activities.”
The bill also adjusts policy regulating the purchasing of school supplies, use of procurement cards by teachers, and more control over when and how supplies are purchased for classrooms.