(07/29/2013)
Mid-July has historically been the peak of a summer break for schoolchildren in West Virginia, a state that just can't seem to provide 180 days of instruction each year in most WV counties, bad weather of not.

Now, the school start day is edging back with Kanawha County starting school on August 9, the earliest start day in history.

Calhoun Schools are set to re-open on August 15.

Kanawha Schools says their early start date allows for the semester to end before Christmas break.

The WV Legislature has announced the fixing of the 180 days of instruction problem a number of times over the years, to little avail.

This might be the year it is fixed.

In 2010, with some fanfare, the legislature passed a law eliminating the arbitrary start and end dates for the public school year.

The change provided county school systems with more flexibility in the school calendar, so students would get 180 days of instruction.

The first year under the new law, just changing the start and end dates was not an answer, according to the WV Department of Education.

The WV Department of Education says only ten counties reached 180 instructional days. Forty-five counties had anywhere from 179 down to 172.

The state department does not count lack of instructional time with two-hour or early-out days, with some school systems racking up 20 or more such days.

The new rule did make some progress from the 2009-2010 school year, when no county hitting 180.

The last information regarding Calhoun Schools, there was improvement with 177 instructional days during the 2010-11 year.

Having 180 instructional days is hampered by contracts given to system employees, state officials said.


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