Klippert introduces bill to allow schools more flexibility with school year

Today the House Education Committee held a public hearing on a bill that would provide school districts an opportunity to be more flexible in their schedule.

House Bill 2215, sponsored by Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, would give school districts the opportunity to voluntarily apply for waivers from the State Board of Education that gives them the ability to adjust the days or hours of instruction for efficiency purposes. Currently, only three schools are operating under this waiver as a pilot project.

“With all the talk about budget cuts and reductions, specifically to education, I am pleased to sponsor a bill that would provide school districts some flexibility in their education system,” Klippert said. “Schools would still be required to teach the minimum of instructional hours, but they must show the quality of instruction is not negatively impacted. School districts that have operated under the Economy and Efficiency Waiver have done so with profoundly positive results.”

The Paterson School District has been a participant of the pilot project since January 2009. Students at Paterson attend school 146 days, Monday through Thursday, with the instructional day beginning at 8:15 a.m. and ending at 3:40 p.m. Their school calendar provides students with 1031 hours of direct instruction per year. This compares to the traditional 180-day, 1000 hours of instructional time.

“Hard times require us all to make hard decisions. The 'one-size-fits-all' requirement of the 180-day school year no longer works for all districts,” said Paterson Superintendent Peggy Douglas. “House Bill 2215 is a positive step forward for education as it helps to remove some of the barriers preventing educators from exploring all creative and viable alternatives. It gives faith and control back to the local school administrators and school boards, allowing us to make local decisions about how education is delivered in each community.”

The bill now awaits action by the committee. If it passes, it could be considered for action by the entire House of Representatives.

CONTACT: Kurt Hammond, Public Information Officer, (360) 786-7794

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov