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West Virginia Senate passes change on school year length

By JOSELYN KING

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

Senate Bill 242 passed the chamber with a 33-0 vote on Wednesday, and it is now on its way to the House of Delegates.

Existing law requires county boards of education to craft a school calendar containing additional minutes of instruction in each school day — or extra days of instruction — to account for time lost to two-hour delays or early dismissals.

The legislation passed in the Senate Wednesday adds to this by allowing any remaining minutes accrued to be put toward fulfilling any entire school days lost to the weather or emergency.

“It gives more flexibility to educators,” Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, said. “That is why it passed with bipartisan, unanimous support.”

House members contacted weren’t yet familiar with the bill, and not yet ready to comment on its merits.

“It’s a good concept,” said Delegate Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock. “But I haven’t read it yet.”

Other provisions in the bill would require school districts to set aside one day in their school calendar to allow employees to prepare for the opening of schools, and a second day for the closing of school.

Also, six two-hour blocks of time for faculty senate meetings would have to be established within the calendar, raising the number from the current requirement of four.

At least one two-hour block would have to be scheduled in the first month of the school year, and one in the last month. Other faculty senate meetings would be required during the months of October, December, February and April.

SB 242 also encourages school districts to first focus on establishing and using “re-imagining student instructional days” — days in which students would instead work on assignments given them to complete at home.

See more from The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

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