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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.117

Introduced by Senator Collins of Franklin District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Education; school calendars

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to direct the commissioner of education to announce a uniform statewide school calendar each year.

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.

(b)  Therefore, it is the intent of this act to direct the commissioner of education to develop and announce 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.  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 December 1 for the ensuing school year.  The calendar shall include:

(1)  at least one hundred seventy-five 178 student attendance days in each school year for students in kindergarten through grade 10, and at least 175 student attendance days in each school year for students in grades 11 and 12.  For purposes of this section, a majority of students enrolled in a school each grade must be recorded on the school roll as in attendance on any day counted as a student attendance day.;

(2)  at least five four 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, and at least one of which will be organized by the department and conducted at regional sites throughout the state;

(3)  for students in kindergarten through grade 10, the first student attendance days of each school year will be on the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the week immediately preceding Labor Day; for students in grades 11 and 12, the first student attendance day of each school year will be on the Tuesday immediately following Labor Day; 

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

(5)  periods of vacation and holidays scheduled to ensure uninterrupted periods of instructional time;

(6)  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.  A majority of students in each grade must be in attendance for a minimum of five and one-half hours, including time available for lunch, for a day to constitute one full student attendance day.  If a majority of students in any grade is in attendance for fewer than five and one-half hours, the day shall be counted as one-half of a student attendance day unless a waiver due to an emergency is requested of and granted by the commissioner.

(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)  [Repealed.]

(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.  [Repealed.]

(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.  [Repealed.]

Sec. 3.  ENFORCEMENT

Any student, parent, or other citizen who has reason to believe that a school is not adhering to the statewide calendar required by this act shall notify the commissioner of education, who will investigate the allegation.  If the commissioner determines that the school has violated the statute or an individual has filed a false attendance report, the school or the individual, respectively, shall be fined $50.00 for each student enrolled at the time of the violation or false report.  Funds generated by this section shall be deposited into the education fund.

Sec. 4.  EFFECTIVE DATE

The statewide calendar developed under this act shall be voluntary for the 2008–2009 school year and shall be mandatory for the 2009–2010 school year and each year thereafter.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us