Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 23, 2013

Some districts might need additional school days

TRAVERSE CITY — Summer could get a little shorter for some local students, but not for those who attend Traverse City Area Public Schools.

TCAPS officials said they will not extend the 2013-14 school year past June 11, the originally scheduled last half-day of school, despite cancelling 10.5 days of instruction this year because of inclement weather.

State lawmakers and the Michigan Department of Education offer several exemptions and waivers that TCAPS will use to stick to its original year-end schedule, TCAPS Human Resources Executive Director Christine Davis said.

"They recognize it's been an unusual winter, so they give districts lots of options," Davis said.

The DOE forgives local districts for up to six days of canceled classes each year. Local school officials can apply for additional exemptions for days of canceled instruction after April 1, and can apply for up to 38 hours of teacher professional development time to count toward the state's minimum requirement for pupil instructional hours.

State law requires local districts to provide either 170 days of student instruction, or the number of instruction days provided by the district in the 2009-10 school year, depending on which total is greater.

Districts also must provide at least 1,098 hours of instruction to students each year. Districts that fail to comply with either requirement forfeit a portion of their state School Aid funding.

A piece of legislation in the Michigan House of Representatives aims to eliminate the requirement for days of instruction for the 2012-13 school year in light of the number of canceled days in districts statewide.

Kalkaska Public Schools Superintendent Lee Sandy said his district will need to schedule additional days of instruction if the pending legislation fails to win approval.

Kalkaska students missed seven days of instruction through the end of March and two days after April 1. Sandy said the district asked the DOE to waive the missed days in April, but the DOE has yet to respond.

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