State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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In light of storms, some schools may be adjusting schedules

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Feb 14, 2014 8:21 AM
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School districts won't see teaching time requirements relaxed, even with the string of winter storms prompting closings, but they could apply for some wiggle room.

The commonwealth's Department of Education is sending reminders to school districts that they can have some flexibility in meeting instructional time requirements under state law. Schools have to stay open at least 180 days a year, but they can apply to have the time calculated by hours.

"It just gives the schools a little bit more flexibility to offer the instructional time for students," said Education Department spokesman Tim Eller. In years heavy on the inclement weather, the move is useful for schools looking to meet state requirements without adding make-up days onto the end of the school year that make classes go deep into June - or beyond.

With permission from the state, school districts can add 20 minutes to school days, or convert scheduled half-days into full days.

Students don't need to worry about coming in on Saturdays. State law prohibits it, and lawmakers have signaled they don't intend to change the rule for this snowy winter. Eller the last time lawmakers changed state instruction time rules and requirements due to inclement weather was during the 1995-96 school year.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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