Longer school year coming; may impact graduation

By Will Khadivi

A state waiver which allowed the Edmonds School District to subtract five days from the normal 180-day school year, is set to expire at the end of this school year.

The Edmonds School District applied for a renewal of the waiver for next year, but was rejected.

The expiration of the waiver coincides with new state rules that beef up the amount of class time required for an entire year. The new rules require middle and high schools in the state to have at least 1080 hours of instruction per year.

“In a 175 day school year with the waiver days, we wouldn’t even come close to the 1080 hours,” Principal Greg Schwab said.

“In a way, not getting the waiver helped us because we are going to meet the 1080 hour requirement pretty easily,” Schwab continued.

One of the most notable effects of the new state rules and the waiver expiring may be the extension of the school year for seniors. Taking effect next year, the rules may force graduating seniors to stay in school past the date of graduation.

“It is possible that next year’s seniors will have a different ending to their school year,” Schwab said. “I don’t know what that will look like yet but we’ve been able to get seniors out early and because of the new 1080 hour requirement, it’s going to change that for seniors.”

The expiration of the state waiver also eliminates the five days that would otherwise be used for professional development for teachers, or non-school days for students.

The district is working to find the funds and room in the calendar to make up those days and may announce a plan as soon as this spring.

Schwab reiterated that the effects of both the expiration of the wavier and the new state rules for MTHS students are not yet completely certain.

“I don’t want to get the people with axes and pitchforks at my door,” Schwab witted. “I’m going to hold off and say everybody take a deep breath, calm down and we’ll figure it out.”