Senate committee approves Phillips-Hill’s proposal paving way for school flexible instructional days

HARRISBURG – The Senate Education Committee unanimously approved a measure sponsored by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) that would allow school districts to utilize flexible instructional days in the instance of a school cancellation.

Phillips-Hill’s bill would allow school districts to apply with the state’s education department to use flexible instruction days for certain courses, like English, math, social studies and science. A flexible instructional day may be used in the instances of inclement weather, a public safety emergency, or other unforeseen circumstances when school buildings are unsafe for use.

“I’ve heard from school districts that I represent as well as schools from across the state very interested in using flexible instructional days,” Phillips-Hill said. “This is another option for schools to give them the tools they need to deal with the unpredictability of the school year, including weather or building issues.”

Flexible instructional days are not new to the Commonwealth as 12 school districts across the state are enrolled in a three-year pilot program through the Department of Education. The pilot program ends this year and Phillips-Hill said it’s been an overwhelming success and a lot of other school districts have expressed interest to continue this program and have the flexibility to meet students’ needs by providing continuous educational instruction.

Approved applications would be valid for three years, when the school would need to reapply. Schools may use a maximum of five flexible instructional days throughout a school year.

Schools that would be eligible include public school districts, intermediate units, vocational-technical schools and charter schools.

“Flexible instructional days are a valuable tool for schools because they offer an opportunity to meet the educational needs of students without having to extend the school year too deep into the summer,” Senate Education Committee Chairman Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) said. “I appreciate Senator Phillips-Hill’s leadership on this issue and look forward to working with her to give all schools new options to keep students safe without interrupting their education.”

“I’m extremely grateful for Senate Education Committee Chairman Aument and the committee for recognizing the importance of this program as we continue to evolve our educational system in Pennsylvania,” Phillips-Hill said.

The legislation moves to the full senate for its consideration.

You can listen to Senator Phillips-Hill’s comments regarding the passage of her bill here.