Hawaii Legislators Seek to Lengthen School Year

HONOLULU (AP) - Stuck with the nation's shortest school year, Hawaii lawmakers will consider proposals for longer and more school days when this year's legislative session opens Wednesday.

Setting standards for instructional time would prevent future budget cuts and labor union negotiations from reducing student learning time, which is what happened when teacher furloughs slashed this school year and next by 17 days.

Hawaii doesn't currently require a minimum amount of instructional days or hours. That's part of the reason island schools have only 163 annual school days through May 2011, while many school districts across the nation have a 180-day school year.

Some legislators want to restore furlough days by raising taxes, tapping reserve funds and spending federal bailout money.

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