WHEELING – Ohio County schools have suspended planning efforts for a 2022-2023 school calendar amid rumors that the West Virginia legislature may again see legislation that cuts the school year from 180 to 170 days of teaching.
The move is meant to give teachers more days for more professional development and planning, director of human resources Susan Nolte told members of the education council this week.
There is a feeling in the education community that state lawmakers may attempt to resurrect a bill passed by the House education committee in 2019 ahead of the pandemic that would force public schools to fail. not start the school year before Labor Day, nor end the year later than Remembrance Day. The same bill was amended to reduce the number of teaching days in a school year from 180 to 170, but the legislation died at second reading in the House.
John Kelley delegate R-Wood attempted to reintroduce the legislation in 2020 without including reduced school days, but this was rejected. This year the bill was again referred to the education committee, but died in committee.
Superintendent Kim Miller told members of the education council that she would not be in favor of reducing the number of teaching days for students.
“I never want to be the one to decrease the number of days our children go to school,” she said. “We have other countries around the world that are increasing their instructional days and we are considering reducing our days. It is very worrying. “
She said she would attempt to communicate with state lawmakers on the matter so that schools in Ohio County “have a voice” on the matter.
Christine Carder asked if it was possible to get 180 days of education between Labor Day and Memorial Day.
“You can, but it’s tight,” Nolte said.
Delegates Erikka Storch, R-Ohio, and Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio, did not return calls for comment on Wednesday.
Senate Majority Whip Ryan Weld R-Brooke said he had not heard of any efforts to change the school calendar in the Senate.
The discussion of the school calendar also led to a discussion of resuming school an hour later at Wheeling Park High School and adjusting the start times for elementary and middle schools to accommodate start times. later.
Scheduled school days often contain overtime that is set aside to help meet the class hour requirements for the year, and Nolte said changing school start times could assign the school calendar accordingly.
The school district has implemented new school bus routing software that could help them determine if a later start-to-school time is achievable, but the software is not yet fully operational and the resulting information is not yet available. still available.
Board members have chosen to wait until data on bus routes becomes available before discussing any changes to departure times.