Michigan school districts get leeway on snow days

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is giving schools more
flexibility in making up for snow days this academic year after record
snowfall and harsh temperatures caused dozens of cancelations in some
Schools that had scheduled 175 or more days can now
hold just 174, as long as they still reach the 1,098 hours required per
school year. Schools can count six cancelled days as instructional days
under previous state law.
Districts that scheduled 170 to 174 days
must meet their original target. Schools that need to add more days to
the end of the school year can receive state money as long as they have
60 percent of students in attendance on those days. That’s down from the
regular 75 percent attendance requirement for funding.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed the changes into law earlier this month.
Public Schools, the state’s largest district in a city that experienced
its snowiest winter on record, has had nine days off overall, a
spokesperson said. Some districts have had 15 cancellations or more,
including Monroe Public Schools in southeastern Michigan.
Public Schools near Grand Rapids had planned one makeup day but
cancelled it after the law changed. Grandville, which originally had 175
days scheduled, will top 1,098 instructional hours even after seven
school cancellations, Superintendent Ron Caniff said.
"In essence,
the legislation recognizes school districts like Grandville that exceed
state requirements and have extra hours and days built into the school
calendar," Caniff said in a letter to parents posted on the district’s
Paw Paw Public Schools Superintendent Tony Habra said the
district’s 10 cancelled days were going to push the last day of school
from June 11 to June 16. The new law allows the district to stick to its
original calendar with some "slight modifications" to elementary school
hours, he said, assuming it doesn’t have more cancellations.
"The response has been real positive" from the "community, teachers, everybody," he
changes are part of the School Aid supplemental budget that Snyder
signed April 7. Caniff said he was surprised by the changes because the
budget bill focused on program funding and early childhood education.
within that bill there was this legislation dealing with the snow day
provision, and we did not see that coming," Caniff said in an interview.
"We were prepared either way to do what we had to do."
Habra said he’d been tracking the bill after suggesting requirement changes to lawmakers.
changes only apply to the 2013-2014 school calendar. Schools were
allowed to lengthen their remaining days last school year to make up for
cancellations, instead of adding days.
A House bill introduced in
February would allow schools to extend days by at least 30 minutes this
year to make up hours lost on snow days. The bill is stalled in
The state Board of Education has encouraged districts
to replace snow days with full school days rather than "adding on
minutes to the existing days remaining."
"Full replacement days
offer every student the full extent of quality instruction that they
missed when the school was closed," the board said in a February
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