It would allow those school districts to organize their classroom time based on instructional minutes instead of the current 180-day school year.
To qualify, schools would have to meet certain goals, including a 90 percent graduation rate and higher SAT scores than statewide averages.
Only about 20 school districts, out of the state’s nearly 300 districts, currently qualify. Two school corporations in Delph’s district — Zionsville and Carmel-Clay — would qualify based on their current performance.
The bill has the enthusiastic support of administrators with the Zionsville Community Schools; they see it as a way to get some relief from the pressures created three years ago when the state cut $300 million in funding to K-12 schools.
Mike Shafer, the district’s chief financial officer, has said the legislation, among other things, would allow some schools to offer “e-days,” enabling students to stay home from school and complete coursework online. He said the bill is aimed at schools that are “not in need of micromanaging.”
There’s been support from both the Republican-controlled House and from Republican Gov. Mike Pence for rewarding high-performing schools. Pence, for example, is calling for a small increase in school funding over the next two years, with the second year’s increase based on schools meeting certain performance growth benchmarks.
But there has been reluctance on the part of several House education committee members, including committee chairman Rep. Bob Behning of Indianapolis to cut short the 180-day school year.