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Increased class time law delayed in Hawaii

By Mary Vorsino

LAST UPDATED: 2:03 p.m. HST, May 3, 2011

A bill that  delays implementation of a law to lengthen Hawaii's school day is headed to the governor's desk after passing both chambers of the state Legislature today.

The bill gives the Department of Education more time to meet minimums for instructional time laid out in a law that passed last legislative session.

Under the bill, half of the state's elementary schools will be required to begin having at least five hours and five minutes of instructional time per day, on average, by next school year.

All elementary schools will have to reach the minimum by the 2012-13 school year.

Middle and high schools will have to comply with the law by 2014, offering at least 5 1/2 hours of instruction on average each day.

The law passed last legislative session required all schools to be in compliance with minimums for instructional time by next school year.

The bill approved today does require all schools, however, to offer at least 180 days of school.

Lawmakers drew up the compromise after hearing concerns from the DOE over how much it would cost to comply with the law at a time when the department is facing budget cuts.

The Senate passed the bill with three members voting no. The measure passed the House with 10 no votes.




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