Missouri HB 161 and School Year Start Dates

Posted on 06/13/2019
2020-21 FHSD Calendar

The Missouri legislature has passed House Bill 161, which will prohibit any public school district in the state from starting school any earlier than 14 days before the first Monday of September. Missouri Governor Mike Parson has until mid-July to veto the bill, or it will become state law. If the bill becomes law, it would go into effect for the 2020 -21 school year.

The FHSD Board of Education has already approved a school calendar for the 2020-21 school year with a start date of August 10. If the bill becomes law, then the District would not be able to start school until August 24, 2020, which would require the creation of a new 2020-21 school calendar. The reconfigured calendar may include different breaks and a later end date. As a result, the FHSD 2020-21 school calendar has been removed from the District website pending the outcome on HB 161 and discussions of how to modify our calendar should HB 161 become law.

Opponents say the law would take local control away from school boards. School boards have historically made calendar decisions based on the best interest of their district and their students. Groups against the change include the Missouri National Education Association, the Missouri State Teachers Association, the School Administrators Coalition, and the Missouri School Boards’ Association.

Supporters say the first three weeks of August are critical to Missouri’s tourism industry. The Missouri State Fair is also held in the first half of August. Supporters of the bill have stated that later start dates could boost the state’s economy by providing an extra weekend for families to take vacations in August.

The full text of HB 161 can be found here.

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