Pennsylvania legislators, education officials debate 180-day rule

As snow days continue to accrue, school districts across Pennsylvania are left trying to figure out how to make up those days. Photo:
As snow days continue to accrue, school districts across Pennsylvania are left trying to figure out how to make up those days.

As snow days continue to accrue across Pennsylvania, state legislators likely don’t have enough time to get a bill approved that would allow for the state Department of Education to waive the 180-day rule for schools.

Students in Pennsylvania, as in New Jersey, are required to attend school 180 days each academic year, with class to be in session for at least 900 hours for elementary-school kids and for 990 hours for secondary-school kids.

The spokesman for House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) told KYW Newsradio that he believes the Education Department could use the hours requirement to get around the days requirement.

“And we had some lively conversations over the last couple of days, because we believe that the Department of Education does have some flexibility,” Steve Miskin told the Philadelphia radio station.

Philadelphia School District is closed Friday for a second straight day because of a nor’easter that dumped a foot of snow on the city, and now must make up five snow days.

A spokesman for the city school district believes the state Education Department may be moving toward allowing districts to meet the hours requirement.

“The Pennsylvania Department of Education would provide a waiver for school districts throughout the Commonwealth that have several snow days so that they can actually use total hours instead of total days,” Fernando Gallard said, according to NBC10.

A spokesman for the Education Department told KYW districts would have to be able to demonstrate “educational merit,” not just cite bad weather.


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