The Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee in Olympia has approved a GOP Senator's proposal to create a "pilot" program for year round schooling.

Senator Brad Hawkins (R-12th District) represents the north central area, from Okanogan down to Wenatchee, and due to a variety of issues including COVID, he says students K-12 are falling behind. He fears it will be difficult for them to return to the levels where they need to be.

For this reason, his legislation, SB (senate bill) 5147, would create a plan where 30 districts (15 west side 15 east side) would implement year round schooling as a pilot program.

His plan would work as follows (according to the Senate Republicans information release):

"...The bill includes a financial incentive in the school funding formula for districts seeking to spread their existing state-funded 180 days over a full calendar year. The bill would require instructional days in at least 11 months of the school year and breaks of no longer than four weeks.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction would select applicant districts based on the bill’s criteria to implement the program beginning in the 2022-23 school year and concluding after the 2025-26 school year and then report back to the Legislature regarding its findings. If this program works well, the Legislature could consider expansion to all schools in future years."

Hawkins, who spent ten years as a member of the Eastmont (East Wenatchee) School Board, said this about the proposal:

“Now is the time – as we’ll pull out of this pandemic – to think big about reforming the system and to get serious about addressing student learning loss..."

Hawkins says long summer breaks often require significant "re-teaching" of curriculums from the previous spring; and with COVID putting most Districts way behind this problem will only get worse.

Earlier this month, OSPI officials including the Superintendent, had recommended reducing the summer break for this very reason.

The bill has cleared the committee, now it will head to the Senate floor for discussion and probable vote.

to learn more about this idea, which has been floated in the legislature for years in the past, click on the button below.

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