Proposed legislation would lengthen Ohio school year

Longer school year
(Source: Flikr/audiolucistore)
(Source: Flikr/audiolucistore)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Ohio State Senator Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati) is proposing legislation Tuesday to lengthen the school year.

The bill would keep children who attend Ohio's public and charter schools in class almost year-round, from 180 days to 220.

Kearney says the change would help students be more competitive in the global marketplace and perform better on standardized tests.

"There's a need for expanded instruction, in my view, because children have not been doing as well on those tests as we would live them to and their readiness for college, according to college presidents, is not what it needs to be," he said.

And some local parents agree the change could help.

Melinda Stodart-Burke, a parent at Walnu Hills Elementary described her daughter's progress in kindergarten as amazing but said a lot of her progress could have been lost had they not worked with her over the summer break.

It's called the summer drop-off and it's one of the reasons Sen. Kearney proposed the idea.

"In summer time, kids have experienced a loss of knowledge, they forget everything they've learned during the school year," Kearney said. "So I'm saying if we expand the school year, we can keep those students more engaged."

The change wouldn't be the first time Cincinnati Public Schools went to a year-round calendar. CPS superintendent Mary Ronan says several schools in the district tried it out about 20 years ago but, after a few years, the concept fizzled.

"I think it was hard for those schools to compete with other schools on a regular schedule and eventually our families lost interest," Ronan said.

Ronan says how Kearney plans to fund the added school days is a question that needs to be answered. She says, for CPS alone, it would cost about $10 million more. But she says time is invaluable and it's what teachers always ask for more of.

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