A newly proposed House bill could extend school hours in South Dakota, and it also aims to compensate educators.
Students in the New Underwood School District are spending more time in school than they used to.
"we've continued to add more hours into our district, mainly in an effort to make sure we are making all of the educational needs of our students," said Jeff Marlette, Superintendent of the New Underwood School District.
Students here go to school from 7:45 am to 3:45 pm, Monday through Thursday. Marlette said that's 30 minutes more a day than before.
"We've seen an improvement. I can't say it's strictly because of that, we done a lot of things in the last four years. But our test scores have constantly come up," said Marlette.
The minimum amount of school hours in South Dakota is 962.5 per year, but most school districts are over one thousand. A new house bill in the works looks to extend the school hours.
"One of the things we heard from people in education was that they didn't have enough time, they needed more time in the school year. One of the issues is you can extend it but it also costs money to extend the time," said Representative Jacqueline Sly.
It would be optional for school districts and extend the time 12 hours per year over a five year period. Representatives said it would benefit the teachers as well.
"What it is trying to do is give them more time in school and compensate them for those additional hours," said Sly.
While representatives in South Dakota want to extend school hours, a lawmaker in Wyoming wants to push a bill that would shorten the school year.