Florida lawmakers consider year-round school schedule for students

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TALAHASSEE – A House panel backed the launch of a year-round schools pilot program on Tuesday, with the plan’s sponsor suggesting it could help students recover from learning losses during the COVID pandemic -19.

State law requires school boards to operate public schools for 180 days a year or the hourly equivalent, but schools can operate on year-round schedules, according to a House staff analysis.

The House Choice & Innovation subcommittee has unanimously approved a bill (HB 891) that would set up a pilot program for four years, with the aim of studying the “benefits” of a school timetable. a year.

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“The purpose of the program is for the Department of Education to assist school districts in establishing a year-round school curriculum in at least one elementary school in the district and to study issues, benefits, and scheduling options to institute year-round school programs. for all students,” said an introductory portion of the bill.

Districts could apply to participate in the program. The state education commissioner would select five districts to participate and, “to the extent possible,” these districts would “represent a variety of demographics, including but not limited to an urban school district, suburban and rural.

Bill sponsor Patricia Williams, D-Pompano Beach, said the benefits of a year-round schedule include the potential to help students bounce back from educational disruptions experienced during the coronavirus pandemic .

“First, this bill could help every child who participates. Second, we lost two years due to COVID for education. Third, crime increases while our children are out of school in the juvenile age bracket,” Williams told the House panel.

Applying districts should provide information on the number of elementary school students who would participate, the academic performance and absenteeism rates of those students, and “the commitment of the teaching staff and students at that school or these schools in the year-round school program.”

Districts wishing to participate should also provide an “explanation of how implementing the curriculum throughout the year will benefit students.”

At the end of the four-year pilot project, the Commissioner of Education would provide a report to the Governor, the Speaker of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House that would include a recommendation on “the adoption of school programs throughout the year for all students.

Rep. Kevin Chambliss, D-Homestead, had a laugh on Tuesday as he voiced his support for the measure.

“I just wanted to offer my kids to be guinea pigs and make sure they could participate in that,” Chambliss joked.

Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, introduced a similar bill (SB 1564), which was not heard in Senate committees.

©2023 The Florida Press Service. All rights reserved; see terms.


Florida lawmakers consider year-round school schedule for students

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