In an effort to save money for cash-strapped Wisconsin districts, state lawmakers are considering ending a requirement that schools teach for 180 days a year or lose state funding.
The measure also would change the way the Department of Public Instruction provides funding for summer courses, and allow funding for newly dubbed interim courses.
Three Democrats have announced they’ll join the Republican majority in supporting the bill sponsored by Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, in the Senate. The Assembly still must vote on the measure.
Even the state DPI, often critical of the state’s education funding methods, and the Wisconsin Association of School Boards back the bill.
‘‘The requirement for school to be held for 180 days is the most common waiver proposal the department receives from school districts every year,’’ said Bob Soldner, director of the School Financial Services Team at DPI.
Schools now have to meet both the hour and day requirements, and some have moved this year to lengthen days to make up for hours lost during the brutal winter.
If schools as early as next school year wanted to extend the school day and stay open for, say, 160 days, the bill allows them to do that.
Districts largely support the bill, though administrators said they are still studying the potential cost savings the bill would provide.
‘‘Reducing districtwide transportation for just a single day would save thousands of dollars,’’ said Jerry Fiene, executive director of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance. ‘‘Scheduling fewer days of school during the coldest winter months would again save thousands of dollars in utility costs.’’