The Mississippi Senate has voted to give school districts the option of keeping children in class five fewer days for each of the next two academic years. That would take the academic year from 180 days to 175.
Shortening the school year would not harm overall education outcomes in the long run, but would save school districts money on operational costs, said state Sen. Videt Carmichael, the chairman of the Senate education committee and a co-author of the proposal. Opponents, however, felt the proposal sent the wrong message.
Individual school boards would have the discretion to adopt the shortened academic calendar.
The bill also includes a measure to furlough school district staff members, including teachers and administrators, for up to five days. The furloughs, which are unpaid leave days, could begin during the current school year and continue through the 2011-12 academic year.
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A version of this article appeared in the March 10, 2010 edition of Education Week as Mississippi Senate OKs Shorter School Year