New bill could allow year-round school

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - Winter storms and cold weather have pushed school calendars well into June, but a new bill could change that.

It would end a requirement of 180 days in class, giving schools only an hourly minimum instead.

The bill getting bi-partisan support in Madison is getting praise from school districts. Its author, Sen. Luther Olsen (R) and co-sponsor Rep. Mandy Wright (D) said getting rid of a 180 day requirement for schools, and only mandating the hours of instruction makes sense.

“They don't necessarily need to have school at the traditional time that they did, so they can save a lot of money on busing, they can plan ahead if they know there's going to be school cancellations,” Wright said.

Altoona Schools superintendent Connie Biedron said a chance to provide fewer, longer days, or even move to year round classes, could save money and avoid summer slumps in academics.

“Unfortunately there are some students that don't do a lot with their math literacy other skills during the summer,” Biedron said.

“Sometimes we're not learning more stuff, new stuff, we're just relearning what we've learned in the past,” sophomore John DiSalle said.

“Say you go to school four to five weeks, then you get a two week break. It just refreshes, re-energizes, reinvigorates you, to start for another session. It also teaches students that this is how the real world is. That most people when they get a job, don't get the summers off,” Biedron said.

“Students being in school for nine months straight, they kind of lose their motivation over time, if you give them a break, they feel like they can get more motivated and come back and succeed more,” DiSalle said.

Students said they’re up for changes, but not all agree on creating longer days or extending the school year.

“The way it is right now is pretty good. If we were to go longer, then that would push sports practices longer then not as much time for homework in the night,” junior Mariah Lima said.

Wright said she expects a vote from the assembly on the bill Thursday.

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