(05/30/2002)
The West Virginia Legislature was serious about having students in school for 180 days a year, after discovering many school systems allowed much less. Part of that edict also requires to have a high percentage of students in attendance to meet the new criteria.

Advocates for the 180 day rule said some school systems have tended to have fewer and fewer days of instruction. The legislature dealt with the situation this last session.

"180 days of instruction means 180 days of instruction," according to Rebecca Tinder, attorney for the West Virginia Department of Education.

Besides not having kids in school 180 days, some school systems seemed slack on how they counted daily attendance, or students were dismissed after "signing in."

The new requirement says a high percentage of students must be present to meet the 180 days of instruction.

It is still unclear what the percentage mark will be. The system is currently using seventy-five percent. If a school would fail to have that percentage in attendance for a day, that day would not be counted as one of the 180 instructional days.

Some school officials are concerned about hunting season and other days around holidays that attendance drops, causing further days to be added to the annual schedule.

The final policy is yet to be adopted by the State Department of Education.


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