School Start Date Change to Take Effect Next Year

Capitol Report:  Representative Patricia Pike

JEFFERSON CITY, MO: Many young people across the state are heading back to school this week, but beginning next year their school start date may be moved a few days later in August. With an emphasis on promoting tourism to generate additional revenue, the Missouri General Assembly approved related legislation this year.

House bill 604, signed into law by Gov. Parson will require that school districts set a starting date of no earlier than 14 calendar days prior to the first Monday in September. Current law says schools can’t start earlier than 10 days before the first Monday in September, but also allows schools to start earlier if their school board votes to begin sooner. The new law takes that option away from school districts.

Supporters of the change say many schools have pushed their start dates to earlier and earlier in August over the last several years. The original sponsor of the change said in 2003, many schools started on September 3 but now some are starting as early as August 10. He said that in areas of Missouri that rely on tourism, businesses have seen a loss of revenue because of the earlier start dates.

The change will take effect for the 2020-21 school year. The start date change is part of a larger education bill that also contains provisions to create the School Turnaround Act to assist schools in need of intervention, require school districts to share information on former employees who have violated policies related to abusive behavior toward a student,  and establish a voluntary pilot program to provide for mental and emotional health education in elementary schools in the state.

State Treasurer Encourages Families to Make the MOST of their Education Savings:  As families send their kids back to school, Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick is encouraging parents to take advantage of a MOST 529 account, which is an investment account that can be used for education savings.