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Oklahoma panel advances bill for return to five-day school weeks

Posted at 11:20 AM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 22:09:21-05

A plan to force more Oklahoma school districts to return to a five-day school week is closer to getting through the legislature.

Republican senator from Claremore authored the bill that passed committee today.

The senate education committee voted 11-6 on Tuesday to return all Oklahoma schools to five-day school weeks.

Of Oklahoma's more than 500 school districts, 92 currently are operating on four-day school weeks.

Most districts say it was to save money.

Sen. Marty Quinn of Claremore included language in the bill that requires schools to be in session for no less than 180 days.

Schools currently have to be in session for 1,080.

Quinn says getting back to a five-day school week is the best thing for the entire state, other lawmakers aren't sure about that.

“If we're ever going to move this state forward, we're going to have to quit doing business the way we've been doing business," Quinn said.

On the flip side, Sen. J.J. Dossett (D-Owasso) says he disagrees.

"It's just the wrong time,” Dossett said. “I'd like to be for your deal, but I just can't because I feel like we're taking a tool away from people who have made due over the last few years with budget cuts that are somewhat out of our hands
with the economy, and I'd argue somewhat in our hands".

There is an amendment to the bill that provides exemptions to the five-day school week.

If a district can prove our-day school weeks are not negatively impacting their students and saves them money.

The bill now goes to the full senate.

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