10 Year Old AZ Law Extends Funding to Troubled Schools

10 Year Old AZ Law Extends Funding to Troubled Schools

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Arizona schools who cannot meet state standards often face disciplinary action which can include a takeover by the state. But because of a law that has been on the books for over a decade schools in trouble have alternatives.

Students in the Balsz Elementary School district in central Phoenix now attend class an extra 20 days a year. This equals 200 full days of instruction a year.

The school was facing a possible takeover after two of its five schools did not meet performance standards in the 2007-2008 school year. This prompted the administration to find a way to fix the issue.

The school district utilized an Arizona state law that has been on the books since 1998. It provides an additional five-percent of state funding to districts that provide their students with 200 days of instruction. The bill was even authored by John Huppenthal, the current superintendent of Arizona schools.

Balsz Elementary School District Superintendent, Dr. Jeff Smith tells News 13 that since the district made the switch, students are performing up to and beyond the state standards. Some of the largest gains were from students in the English Language Learner programs. Furthermore the parents support the extended days of school which makes a major difference.

Smith says that by extending the school year, students are more prepared to tackle a more structured curriculum.

"They will have one complete extra year of education, so our eighth graders will essentially be a sophomore going into high school," says Smith.

According to Smith a number of other educators, including superintendents, have shown interest in the extended school year model.

News 13 contacted Yuma District One and the Somerton School District in order to hear how and an extended school year might affect their students, however they were unavailable.

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