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City schools considering two potential start dates


Sarah Fowler



With state lawmakers considering changing a law that dictates when public schools can begin the school year, the Columbus Municipal School District is considering two calendars for the 2014-2015 school year. 


Assistant Superintendent Craig Shannon approached the school board during Tuesday night's meeting with two options. One has school beginning on Aug. 18. The other has school beginning on Aug. 11. 


The reason for the varying calendars is because of a law passed by the Mississippi Legislature that says school cannot begin for students before the third Monday in August. With the new law, students would not take their fall semester exams until January, after they return from Christmas break. 


Shannon said with the upcoming legislative session, the law might change. 


"No public school can start before the third Monday in August but that may change," Shannon told the board. "Unfortunately, the legislature has not made a final decision but hopefully we'll get a decision on that very soon." 


As another part of the new law, teachers can not get paid for the entire month unless they work 15.72 days of the month," Shannon said. If students return to school on Aug. 18, teachers would return on Aug. 8 so they can get paid for the entire month. 


"That will allow our teachers to come back and have some training days at the beginning of the year and allow our teachers to have enough work days," he said. "Some of the turbulence from the law is that teachers can not be paid for an entire month if they have not worked 15.72 days." 


The board will vote on a calendar in the upcoming weeks. Regardless of which calendar they vote on, students will still have a full week at Thanksgiving and Spring Break.


Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.



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