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Thursday, September 12,2013

Year-round school

In an effort to improve student achievement and struggling schools, State Rep. Andy Schor proposes legislation that would incentive year-round schooling

by Andy Balaskovitz
Andy Schor
Thursday, Sept. 12 — State Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, introduced legislation today that would incentive school districts’ moving to a year-round calendar, which he believes may help low-achieving students and fix struggling schools.

Schor’s bill would create a $10 million fund that at-risk districts could tap into if they decide to move from a nine-month to year-round calendar year. The money would be for one-time expenses, such as air conditioning, that would allow older buildings to function better during hotter months.

The bill would not change the state-mandated 175 school days, but rather balance time off throughout the year.

Schor said in a statement today it’s “well-known and proven” that students lose some of what they’ve learned over the summer months they’re off and it takes the first few months of a new year “to regain what they lose over the summer, which means that 30 to 60 of our mandated 175 days are used for catch-up and not learning new material,”

Local school boards would still have the option of switching to a year-round calendar.

“All-year school is a great tool that we can use to help fix so-called ‘priority schools’ and schools with lower achieving students. In the recent school debate, we have been challenged to come up with alternatives, and this is one that I see as very beneficial in my school district. I hope that this legislation will have a hearing soon, and I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this important bill.”

Former Republican Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow, who is now superintendent of the St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency, announced his support for the legislation today in a statement.

“Study after study has validated what common sense tells us: Students who are away from the classroom for an extended break during the summer forget some of what they learned the previous year. That’s a problem for all kids, but it compounds itself into a huge problem for those children at greatest risk. We should do anything we can to help schools overcome the obstacles to offering year-round school. This bill will help do that,” DeGrow said.
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