Traverse City Record-Eagle


April 22, 2014

Legislation allows Michigan school districts more leeway on snow days

LANSING (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 districts.

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.

Detroit 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.

Grandville 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 website.

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 said.

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