House seeks full August paycheck for school employees, but is it legal?

The Mississippi House Thursday passed a bill meant to ensure teachers get a full paycheck in August, but school board leaders say they don’t believe the proposal is legal.

The dispute is wrapped up in an effort by school boards and superintendents to roll back a 2012 legislative mandate that classes can’t start before the third Monday in August. Those who want schools free to start earlier have been using the paycheck problem to push lawmakers for repeal.

House Bill 71, passed on a 120-0 vote, directs school districts to pay all employees in equal monthly installments. It’s meant to end problems created by a recent attorney general’s opinion saying that full August paychecks would violate the state Constitution’s ban on paying employees for work not yet performed.