Newhouse and Chandler give testimony on bill to allow four-day school weeks


Arguing for more adequate instructional time in classrooms, Reps. Dan Newhouse and Bruce Chandler today gave testimony to the House Education Committee on House Bill 1292. Lyle School District Superintendent Martin Huffman, who brought the idea to the 15th District representatives, and Bickleton School District Superintendent Ric Palmer also testified in favor of the bill.

The bill would allow school districts flexibility in reaching 1,000 instructional hours by waiving a 180-day requirement. Seventeen states currently allow four-day school weeks.

“This is less about saving money — although we could see about 20 percent dollar savings — and more about quality time in the classroom,” said Newhouse, R-Sunnyside. “Giving districts more flexibility in how they reach the state’s requirement for hours allows them to have more uninterrupted class time for students and teachers.”

The bill would require school districts seeking the 180-day waiver to submit a calendar as well as public comment taken from the affected communities.

“This would not create a statewide mandate to move to four-day school weeks, it would let individual communities and districts decide what is best for them,” said Chandler, R-Granger. “This is not something for everyone, but it will be useful for a few.”

Superintendent Huffman said the Lyle School District addressed concerns about child care provisions for parents whose children would otherwise be at home for the fifth day.

During testimony, Huffman highlighted a plan that would certify some of the high school students to babysit some of the younger kids. He also stressed that HB 1292 would give school districts more local control and the ability to provide the substantial education they want to provide.

Superintendent Palmer said each school day would be lengthened about 30-45 minutes to make up for the fifth day of the week that students would normally be in school.

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Washington State House Republican Communications