Year-round schooling bill clears Wyoming committee

2013-01-31T20:45:00Z 2013-02-01T17:24:06Z Year-round schooling bill clears Wyoming committeeBy TREVOR BROWN The Wyoming Tribune Eagle Casper Star-Tribune Online

CHEYENNE – Lawmakers are considering a proposal that could encourage some Wyoming schools to go to year-round class schedules.

The state House’s Appropriations Committee voted 5-2 on Thursday to send House Bill 255 to the floor for debate.

The legislation creates a voluntary pilot program for schools that are interested in offering year-round schedules. It would give interested schools a financial assistance award of 5 percent of their total school-level resources to fund the program.

HB255 provides $3 million for up to six schools to take part in the program.

Rep. Steve Harshman, R-Casper, co-sponsor of the bill, said it would not require schools to increase their number of school days. Instead, those in the program could not have vacation breaks longer than three weeks.

Harshman said the goal is to see if getting rid of long summer vacations would improve student performance.

“That is really the issue with that ‘summer loss,’” he said. “There is also a social loss in having to get people back into the swing of things [in the fall] ”

The bill calls for schools to apply to be part of the program by July 31. It would limit districts to having one school in the program.

Harshman said he expects school boards to host public meetings and work with members of the public to see if they think the plan is appropriate for one of their schools.

“This is the type of thing that could change the landscape for a school district,” he said.

Rep. Bob Nicholas, R-Cheyenne, also a sponsor, added it could show the rest of the state if this model is beneficial.

“What we really want to do is have a couple test schools, see if it works and see if the testing scores improve or if there is any difference,” he said. “This is just trying to be creative to incentive some schools that want to do this.

“Obviously, we are not trying to enforce this on anyone. The concept is: What can we do more to improve test scores and the quality of education we have?”

Reps. Glenn Moniz, R-Laramie, and Sue Wallis, R-Recluse, voted against the proposal.

Moniz said going to a year-round schedule would be detrimental to kids in agricultural communities.

“Summer break for all kids is not equal,” he said. “Most of the ag kids that I am aware of carry on projects during the summer. This would inhibit their ability to do that.”

Nicholas responded that schools in those communities likely would not be interested in the program, so it would not affect them.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(3) Comments

  1. Cowboy Joe
    Report Abuse
    Cowboy Joe - February 01, 2013 12:00 pm
    In the South? Reread your post---answers abound. How many schools have you been in lately? It seems like everyone who went to school (and many who didn't) know exactly how to fix them, but the reality is that it is infintely complex, bureaucratically strangled and not always appreciated, valued or understood, especially in parts of this state.
  2. carlover
    Report Abuse
    carlover - February 01, 2013 6:30 am
    by the time summer breaks come around the kids had already begun skipping classes. missing whole days, like anything if not more so, kids get board, and when that happens they move on to the next big thing. now if you try to keep these kids in school moredays of the years, your going to end up with more absenttees. why? because KIDS GET BOARD. It like trying to force them into staying in high school till their 18 or what is it now 28 credits? thats 4 years of math 4 years if history what kid do you know today will do that? and not skip or complain? " the answer is not more time in school its better materials.non burned out teachers, who have to spend more time disaplining your kids then teaching them. I cant help but wonder what happened to our school system, we feed them junkfood at lunch and cant figure out why some need riddelin to set still in class, we have destroyed home economics, to teach them to cook and clean, health about their bodies and birth control, art to teach creativeness, library, when you look up your interests or home work. school should have never become an assembly line, same materials year after year, no field trips to see some of the state or historical things, its boring and mundane, and when you have these two together it does nothing but stiffle learning. get the kids off the computer, teach writing skills, take the calculators away and teach the steps to solving problems, get rid of ipads i phones and cell phones, make them talk to one another. the best run school systems in america are in the south, they teach all this and more for a whole lot less then we spend here. and they still have summer vacations, easter, christmas,.
  3. cares
    Report Abuse
    cares - January 31, 2013 9:08 pm
    My kids did this years ago in another state. It was wonderful. I think it makes sense to be the norm.
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