Iowa Lawmakers Consider Changes To School Requirements - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Iowa Lawmakers Consider Changes To School Requirements

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There could be big changes for school requirements in Iowa. Currently, Iowa schools are required to complete 180 days of school. However, 2 bills making their way through the House and Senate would require schools to complete 1080 hours a year.

"For Bettendorf I don't think it's going to be a significant change to how we currently do business," says Bettendorf Schools Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte.

Superintendents all over the Iowa Quad Cities are saying the same thing as Dr. Schutte. If the requirements change from 180 days to 1080 hours, there will be some tweaks to a few schedules, but the overall the impact is minimal.

"Our district is such that we don't have a lot of disruptive daily schedules due to early outs or late starts, which will be the biggest impact to districts meeting this requirement," adds Dr. Schutte.

Smaller, rural schools would most likely have to make adjustments. In Iowa, an early out or late start for weather counts towards an entire day for the 180 day requirement. Under the hour system, the unfulfilled hours will have to be made up.    

"I think what's driving the bill is inequities across the state," says Dr. Schutte, "Does every student across the state have the same number of student contact times in the classroom? The answer is no, because it's based on where you live."

The 2 bills making their way through the legislature are almost exactly the same. One is an individual piece of legislation that easily passed the house. The other is part of the education reform package currently in the Senate.

"The more student contact you have, the more beneficial it's going to be in terms of their learning," says Dr. Schutte.

If one or both of the bills are signed into law, school districts are hoping they receive one year to adjust. Contracts with the teachers union are for number of days, so switching the requirement to hours would affect the contracts.

"That's where we're going to have discussions," adds Dr. Schutte, "To try and figure out how that will be navigated."

Until the bill passes and the details are known there's not much local districts can do to prepare.

"I think it's a wait and see at this point," says Dr. Schutte.

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