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You Can Keep Your Friday Football: New Law Let’s Students Keep Playing, Even If the School’s in Trouble

Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

JACKSON, Miss.–The kids in the Scott County School District weren’t doing anything wrong earlier this year when a state takeover almost happened. That’s why they got to keep their extra-curricular programs. Now a new law says that schools that get into trouble in A and B-rated districts, can keep those programs going, as long as it’s not academic or financial trouble.

Wednesday Gov. Bryant signed into law a Senate bill that includes “multiple technical changes” for all public school districts in the state.

Before this year, policy required that schools in as deep trouble as the Scott County district had to stop their football, basketball and other sports programs. In the Scott district, though, the problem was the administration and student performance had not been affected.

The new law takes that into account.

The new law also gives teachers more control over buying supplies. The teachers can get procurement cards earlier and more efficiently, allowing them more control over when and how supplies are purchased for their classrooms.

“With this change, individual teachers will have more control over how to spend supply dollars in their classrooms, and they will receive those funds in a more efficient manner,” said Bryant.

The new law also includes one part that the governor did not seem as happy with. That’s an amendment that will allow school districts to choose when they start classes each year.

In a 2012 agreement, lawmakers required public schools to start no earlier than the third Monday in August. The new amendment reverses that.

“Under Senate Bill 2571, local school districts will have the authority to set their start dates. I encourage all districts to consider the needs of students, families and communities when developing their calendars. Inconsistent school start and end dates can have an impact on enrollment in summer school programs for both students and teachers and can also have an impact on tourism throughout the state,” said Bryant in a Wednesday statement.

“Had the Legislature chosen to send me the school start date change in a stand-alone bill instead of attaching it to a measure that includes many beneficial education changes, I might have taken different action with regard to that provision.”

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