An idea to potentially extend the school year for some Roanoke City Public School students on an opt-in basis gained plenty of attention last week. You can read more about that in this story from Sunday’s paper.
What you didn’t read in Sunday’s story are some comments from Councilman Bill Bestpitch, who made the request to discuss a longer school year at last week’s joint city council/school board meeting where the idea was first brought up. I talked to him while reporting on the story, but ultimately didn’t include his comments because the story was getting a bit long and some of his comments were already addressed by schools leaders.
But here’s a look at some of what he had to say.
– Bestpitch said he requested the item be discuss after hearing and reading about other school systems keeping students in school throughout more of the year. He said he didn’t know Superintendent Rita Bishop had an extended school year plan in mind. He said she was one step ahead of him, which is “exactly where I want her.”
– On money: “We have really pushed and pushed to provide the very maximum level of support we can get out of the city budget at this point. I don’t know where the additional funding would come from unless the general assembly gets serious about funding their fair share of funding for public education.”
– On what students he sees participating: “To me something like this would be geared at those kids who aren’t necessarily failing, but they’re just barely above the bottom line . . . The kids at the top of the class don’t need it, don’t want it, they’re obviously not going to sign up for it. These are the kids that probably have challenges from taking the summer off.”
So now that there are a few more details about the proposed extended year, what do you think?