Hawaii students to see longer school days


This year, for the first time, Hawaii state law will require students to receive a minimum number of instructional hours.

The mandated 990 hours of instructional time for academic year 2014-15 — compared to 915 hours last year — was signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in 2011 following a series of furloughs that resulted in Hawaii students having the fewest number of instructional days in the country. Public outcry led legislators to design a plan to incrementally increase the amount of instructional time provided to students at each school.

At the end of the last academic year, schools were required to submit for approval their new schedules to the Department of Education. The additional hours of instructional time were required without additional funding, so schools were forced to get creative in shaving off a few minutes from lunches or breaks between class periods.

Some schools will start earlier in the morning than in years past, while others will run longer into the afternoon.

For Hawaii Island, the earliest start time for classes this year will be 7:45 a.m. Among the schools beginning at that time are Pahoa Elementary, Kahakai Elementary, Honokaa High and Intermediate and Holualoa Elementary. Meanwhile, the latest start to the day on the island is 8:15 a.m., including Kealakehe High, Kealakehe Intermediate and Konawaena High.

School closing times vary more widely, and change from day to day, with the earliest last bell coming at 12:25 p.m. Wednesdays at Honaunau Elementary, and the latest coming at 4 p.m. every Monday at Kohala High.

Email Colin M. Stewart at cstewart@hawaiitribune-herald.com.