A House panel on Tuesday supported launching a pilot program of year-round schools, with the plan’s sponsor suggesting it could help students recover from learning losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
State law currently requires school boards to operate public schools for 180 days a year or the hourly equivalent.
The House Choice & Innovation Subcommittee unanimously approved a bill that would set up a pilot program for four years, with a goal of studying “benefits” of a year-long school schedule. Districts could apply to participate in the program.
Democratic State Representative Patricia Williams is the bill sponsor and says, “During the summertime, a lot of children lose what they have learned during the year. This is additional time that they will have educating themselves and actually staying out of trouble.”
The state education commissioner would select five districts to participate.
Districts that apply would have to provide information about the numbers of students enrolled in elementary schools that would participate, their academic performances and rates of absenteeism of those students in the year-round school program. A similar bill has not been heard in Senate committees.