Legislation up for a vote Tuesday in the State Senate would allow school districts to shorten the school year, if they make the school day longer.
The bill says districts should be able to scrap the current requirement of 180 days as long as they have the equivalent number of hours. Assuming the school day lasts six hours, that works out to 1,080 hours.
Rhode Island’s minimum school year is pretty typical, although the length can vary from state to state. Massachusetts also requires 180 days in the school year, with state law encouraging school committees to extend the school day and even the school year whenever possible.
The measure allowing a shorter school year in Rhode Island would reduce number of days that school buildings must be staffed and maintained, but its authors specify their goal is to do so without sacrificing class time for students. Districts hoping to take advantage of the shorter school year would be required to seek approval from the State Department of Education.