Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.

The extended bill for the Kansas school year would add nearly 450 class hours

Most Kansas public school students attend about 1,100 hours of class each school year, but a Kansas House bill would dramatically increase that by about 40 percent.

While Kansas law allows local school boards to choose between 186 school days or 1,116 hours per year, most school districts opt for the latter, as it provides more flexibility in the face of inclement weather.

HB 2224, currently on the House Education Committee, would eliminate both of these options and replace them with a minimum of 195 eight-hour school days or 156 10-hour school days, resulting in a total of 1,560 school hours.

The bill would essentially extend the academic years of most Kansas public schools by 444 hours or 11 weeks.

Rep. Bill Rhiley, a Wellington Republican on the committee, said he introduced the bill because he understood that many school districts are only meeting the bare minimum of required hours. According to his calculations, using data from statewide districts, Kansas public schools are in session for only an average of 407 hours, or nearly 7 hours, per day, not counting a 30-minute lunch period.

Moreover:Should taxpayer money help pay for some Kansas families’ private school tuition?

He said local school boards have focused too much on the minimum, rather than what’s best for Kansas public school students.

“All I’m saying is school boards could do it now,” said Rhiley, a former teacher. “School boards could make that decision. I’m just putting it on the table, because time and time again in Kansas history, we continue to do the minimum, and I don’t think it’s right for the students.”

Moreover:Republicans took due process away from Kansas teachers in 2014. Olive Branch could give it back.

Critics say the extended school year in Kansas would be hundreds of millions of unfunded mandates

The bill was met with widespread, if succinct, opposition.

Critics have pointed to the lack of evidence that a longer school day, as well as a school year, improves student achievement. Including 52 weekends, holidays and other year-end breaks, public school advocates have pointed out that the bill would essentially equal a year-round schooling.

As a state, even Kansas would already seem to require more hours than most other countries. On average, developed countries around the world require 790 teaching hours in elementary school, according to the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation.

In addition to questioning the need for a longer school year, opponents of the bill have pointed to the uncertain – and unfunded – cost of extending the school year, since local school boards would likely have to raise significantly substantial teacher salaries in the negotiations.

Moreover:Republicans took due process away from Kansas teachers in 2014. Olive Branch could give it back.

The Kansas State Department of Education estimated that an average school district salary increase of just 1 percent would require $36.6 million in additional spending, not counting 13.6 percent, or $5 million dollars, in additional school district contributions to the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System. Additional school days would also require additional maintenance and transportation costs, the latter of which KSDE has estimated at approximately $14.6 million.

Even a 25 percent increase in teacher and staff salaries would have a $1.04 billion tax impact, which school districts would have to figure out how to pay out of pocket, barring any other legislation to increase the state’s school funding formula.

“We have seen this discussion in all sessions thus far, that money is the key to quality education and we believe it (HB 2224) jeopardizes the fulfillment of the Gannon decision if money is not provided for these additional days, said Lauren Tice Miller, director of government relations and elections for the Kansas chapter of the National Education Association’s teachers union.

Moreover:Kansas lawmakers seek college funding information on diversity, equity, critical race theory

Rhiley, the representative who introduced the bill, had previously argued that any number of reasons could have stopped the bill.

But extending the school year, he said, would be at least one step towards improving students’ academic performance.

“What is our real reason for teaching school?” Rhiley asked the committee. “It’s not about hiring teachers. It’s about figuring out how to get students to the point where they’re good citizens and working adults.”

Rafael Garcia is an educational reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 785-289-5325. Follow him on Twitter at @byRafaelGarcia.

Content Source

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button