New state law increases the length of school days for local districts

New state law increases the length of school days for local districts

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Parents may notice that their children will probably be in class a bit longer this school year, because of a new state law.

Beginning Aug. 22, some schools were affected by a state law that requires public school students to be in class for about 75,600 minutes instead of 180 school days per year.

Due to this Texas law, local school districts have made a change in their daily school schedules.

"Some of our elementary campuses had those four instructional days built in to the calendar, they needed to adjust their bell schedule either at the front of the day or the end of the day," said Holly Shelton, Communications Program Director for Amarillo Independent School District. "So, some of our elementary schools had to add  5, 10, maybe 15 minutes to the school day."

Most high schools and middle schools already follow the state's newest requirement, but elementary schools did not.

Olsen Park Elementary is one school that has shifted its schedule. This school year they release students at 3:15 p.m. instead of 3:00 p.m.

"All that is up to the principal and the team that leads that school to determine what's the best way to do that and to get the maximum benefit of having students a little bit longer for those particular schools," said Shelton.

The House Bill 2610 allows schools to schedule enough institutional minutes to cover four canceled days during the school year due to major events or weather.

Though there is a requirement to meet the 75,600 minutes, several school districts have increased their numbers higher than that requirement.

Bushland ISD will have about a 76,000 minute school year while the Highland district will have a 77,000 minute year, the highest in our area.

How each school uses this extra time each day will vary, some will increase their recess hours and others will increase class time.

Even though students are expected to be in school a little longer, it will not effect when the school year ends.

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