HISD board ap­proves longer school days at 11 closed cam­puses.

Kids will at­tend 25 to 55 min­utes longer in the fall

Houston Chronicle - - CITY | STATE - By Shelby Webb shelby.webb@chron.com

School days will grow longer for stu­dents at 11 Hous­ton In­de­pen­dent School Dis­trict cam­puses af­ter the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion voted Thurs­day night to ex­tend school days to stay in com­pli­ance with state law.

The next step is for the Texas Ed­u­ca­tion Agency to grant Hous­ton ISD nine dis­as­ter waivers for classes missed from Aug. 28 to Sept. 8 due to Hur­ri­cane Har­vey. If ap­proved by TEA, HISD stu­dents will likely not have to make up those days dur­ing the com­ing school year, but a hand­ful of schools open­ing in the com­ing two weeks will need to make up time.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Richard Carranza said the dis­trict had three op­tions to com­ply with the state law: cut short planned hol­i­days, tack days on to the end of the school year or lengthen the school day.

“There is no per­fect sit­u­a­tion,” Carranza said. “But we are also very com­mit­ted to make sure the ad­di­tional time re­quired for stu­dents won’t just be seat time. We’re go­ing to have en­rich­ment ac­tiv­i­ties and teachers in­formed in trauma ped­a­gogy.”

The length­ened school days will only be in ef­fect for the fall se­mes­ter. Stu­dents at all schools will be on reg­u­lar sched­ules be­gin­ning in 2018.

The item, which was ap­proved on a 7-1 vote with one ab­sten­tion, also will elim­i­nate five early-re­lease days for all Hous­ton ISD cam­puses and al­low the dis­trict to send the missed day waivers to the state. It also pro­vided $2 mil­lion to pay teachers and school sup­port staff at the 11 schools for the ex­tra time they’ll spend at work. That $2 mil­lion will come out of the dis­trict’s re­serve funds, which held about $308 mil­lion at the end of the 20162017 fis­cal year for emer­gen­cies.

Texas man­dates stu­dents re­ceive 75,600 min­utes of in­struc­tion per year. To com­ply, stu­dents at­tend­ing four schools sched­uled to open Sept. 18 will at­tend class for an ad­di­tional 25 min­utes. Those schools are Mitchell Elementary, Key Mid­dle, and Bel­laire and North­side high schools.

Stu­dents at­tend­ing seven schools set to re­sume classes on Sept. 25 will have 55 min­utes added to their day. Those schools are Brae­burn, Hil­liard, Kolter, Roland P. Har­ris and Scar­bor­ough elementary; For­est Brook Mid­dle; and Lib­erty High.

Trustee Mike Lunce­ford, the only trustee to vote against elon­gat­ing the school year, put for­ward an amend­ment that would al­low the six elementary schools that will have longer school days to spread those ex­tra min­utes out over the en­tire school year rather than just dur­ing the first se­mes­ter. Dis­trict staff said spread­ing those min­utes out through­out the year would cost the dis­trict and ad­di­tional $800,000 in ex­tra teacher and staff pay.

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