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H.175

AN ACT RELATING TO A STATEWIDE SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

(a)  The general assembly finds:

(1)  School districts need to find ways to collaborate in order to maintain concurrent schedules, improve student learning, and reduce costs through sharing of resources.

(2)  Students learn best when provided educational services for uninterrupted periods of instructional time.

(3)  Educators can deliver instructional services more efficiently and effectively when schools are following the same vacation, holiday, and statewide assessment schedules.

(4)  Common professional development days provide educators the opportunity to participate in regional and statewide programs.

(5)  A uniform statewide calendar ensures better attendance at regional programs, such as technical centers.

(6)  The date on which a school year begins and ends has great impact on families and businesses.

(b)  Therefore, it is the intent of this act to direct the commissioner of education to adopt a statewide calendar.  It is not the intent that the statewide calendar shall deviate from the traditional summer vacation period.

Sec. 2.  16 V.S.A. § 1071 is amended to read:

§ 1071.  SCHOOL YEAR AND SCHOOL DAY CALENDAR

(a)  Minimum number of days Statewide school calendarExcept as provided in this section, each public school shall be maintained and operated for  The commissioner shall develop a uniform statewide calendar using a public process which enables students, parents, educators, the business community, and other interested parties to participate.  The primary purpose of the statewide calendar shall be to improve high quality learning opportunities for all Vermont students.  The commissioner shall announce the uniform statewide calendar by October 1 for the ensuing school year.  The calendar shall include:

(1)  at least one hundred seventy-five 175 student attendance days in each school year.  For purposes of this section, a majority of students enrolled in a school must be recorded on the school roll as in attendance on any day counted as a student attendance day.;

(2)  at least five common teacher in-service education days, during which time activities shall be conducted without students present in order to increase the competency of the staff, improve the curriculum of the school, enable teachers to attend state educational meetings or disseminate student progress information to parents or the community;

(3)  to the extent possible, common days for statewide assessments;

(4)  periods of vacation and holidays so as to ensure uninterrupted periods of instructional time;

(5)  a sufficient number of makeup days to compensate for unanticipated closings.  

(b)  Hours of operation.  Within the minimum set by the state board, the school board shall fix the number of hours that shall constitute a school day, subject to change upon the order of the state board.

(c)  Unanticipated closings.  When a public school is closed for cause beyond the control of the school board it may petition the state board for a waiver of the requirements of this section.  The petition shall be filed with the state board within 10 days of each occurrence and not later than June 15 of the school year involved; and the state board shall act on the petition at its next meeting held five or more business days following receipt of the petition.  Action may include approval of the request, disapproval of the request, or postponement of a decision for a definite period in order to enable the district to schedule makeup days.  If the petition is approved and a waiver granted, the school district shall be deemed to have satisfied the requirements of this section.  If the state board fails to act at that meeting, the petition shall be deemed to have been approved and the waiver granted.

(d)  Unique community situations.  If a school district or group of school districts needs to deviate from the uniform calendar due to a circumstance unique to the community, the district or districts may petition the state board for a waiver by January 1 for the ensuing school year, and the state board shall act on the petition at its next meeting.

(e)  Regional calendar.  Before April 1 of each year, the superintendents of schools and the headmasters of public schools not managed by school boards in an area shall meet, and by majority vote, establish a uniform calendar within that area for the following school year.  The calendar shall include student attendance days, periods of vacation, holidays and teacher in-service education days and shall comply with subsection (a) of this section.  Unless permitted by the commissioner, no area served by a regional technical center shall be divided into two or more calendar regions.

(f)  Additional days.  Nothing in this section prohibits a school board from scheduling additional days for student attendance or teacher in-service education.  However, those days shall not conflict with any applicable school the statewide calendar.

(g)  Upon application of one or more school districts, after approval by the voters of each such district, the state board may grant a waiver of the requirements of subsection (a) if it is satisfied that equivalent educational programming will be maintained or improved.  The waiver may be granted for any purpose, including the conservation of energy.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

The statewide calendar developed under this act shall be voluntary for the 2007–2008 school year and shall be mandatory for the 2008–2009 school year and each year thereafter.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us