Tomblin says school calendar bill appears to take state “backwards”

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Tomblin says school calendar bill appears to take state “backwards”
By Jeff Jenkins, MetroNews

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says a bill that would change the public school calendar process “kind of takes us back a little bit.”

Tomblin will make a decision on the measure (HB 4171) by the end of the day Friday. April 1 is the deadline for the governor to sign or veto bills passed in the final hours of the 60-day legislative session.

The bill allows for school systems to bank instructional time, extra minutes in a school day, to meet the 180-day requirement. The bill also sets a start and end date for the school year at no earlier than Aug. 10 and no later than June 10.

The state has the current requirements, with an end date of later in June, for a reason, Tomblin said.

“We have a very diverse state weather-wise where a lot of counties receive a lot more snow and have to miss more days,” Tomblin said.

The bill, according to Tomblin, appears to restrict county school boards in their attempts to get in the 180 days.

“I have a real problem with going backwards from where we are,” Tomblin told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “I think our kids deserve and need every one of those 180 days of instruction time in order to be competitive with other students around the country and around the world.”

Both state School Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano and state School Board President Mike Green have urged Tomblin to veto the bill.