Language allowing Mississippi school districts to choose when to start fall classes, a change from 2012 legislation that prohibits classes from beginning before the third Monday in August, today was stripped from a bill pending in the House Education Committee.

Barring Senate proponents of an earlier start making another stab at changing the 2012 law, that means school districts are definitely looking at starting school this fall no earlier than August 18.

The House Education Committee is chaired by state Rep. John Moore, a proponent of the later start date. House leaders don’t favor the bill reaching the floor for a full vote. “I don’t want to mess with changing it again,” Moore said today.

Many school boards statewide have been holding off on approving their new calendars, with some saying the later start date means they’ll have to push classes into June or cut short traditional Christmas or Thanksgiving holidays.

“That puts us in the first part of June getting out,” Madison County school district Superintendent Ronnie McGehee told school board members at their regular meeting Monday. “And right now, we’ll be bringing some elementary-school children back on a Monday. That’s not conducive to what we do here.”

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