Senate Democrats halt snow day expansion

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Kevin Daley on Tuesday voted in favor of legislation that would have given flexibility to schools who missed more than the nine allotted snow days during this winter’s harsh weather.

“Schools in my district faced an unusual amount of harsh weather this season and this legislation would have helped them at the end of the school year,” said Daley, R-Lum. “But since Democrats wouldn’t support immediate effect, it won’t be helpful to the schools this year.”

The State School Aid Act requires each district to provide at least 180 days and 1,098 hours of pupil instruction. A district that fails to comply with the required minimum hours and days of instruction must forfeit a portion of its state aid.

The first six days or the equivalent number of hours that students are not in the classroom due to snow days or other weather or natural emergencies are waived and included as hours of instruction. In exigent circumstances school superintendents can apply for a waiver that allows them to cancel three additional days of school. The request must explain why the extra days are needed and why they cannot be rescheduled.

House Bill 4206 would have amended the act to require the Department of Education, for 2018-2019 only, to count the four days that were included in the governor’s state of emergency earlier this year as days and hours of pupil instruction. However, without immediate effect, the legislation won’t take effect until well after the end of this school year.

“Every senator voted in favor of this legislation,” Daley said. “However, the Democrats failing to approve immediate effect knowingly delays implementation and effectively denies schools relief for this school year. I’m disappointed that helping our schools has become a political game. Some districts will be going well into the summer and this bill would have simply provided some relief to teachers, students and parents this summer.”

###