LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Jon Bumstead on Thursday voted in favor of legislation that would give flexibility to schools who missed more than the nine allotted snow days during this winter’s harsh weather.
“I supported the changes to this bill because it provides flexibility for schools who want to request forgiveness for a maximum of four additional days, while also giving schools an option to still make up the missed learning time for students,” said Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “School districts wanted increased flexibility, and the latest change to the bill will allow each district to decide what is best for their staff, students and parents.”
The State School Aid Act requires each district to provide at least 180 days and 1,098 minimum 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 amends the act to require the Department of Education, for 2018-2019 only, to allow schools the option of counting the four days that were included in the governor’s state of emergency earlier this year as days and hours of pupil instruction if a school district requests credit for these days. The dates covered in the governor’s state of emergency are Jan. 29 through Feb. 1, 2019.
Earlier this week, immediate effect was not granted for this legislation. Without immediate effect, implementation of this bill would have been delayed to the end of the legislative term, making the forgiveness plan ineffective for this year. The revised version of this legislation was passed unanimously, and immediate effect was given by a vote of 26-3.
“I’m grateful that some of the Senate Democrats decided to put politics aside and support immediate effect for this bill that will help our local schools,” Bumstead said. “I hope we can continue to work together to find common sense solutions to problems in our state.”
This bill now heads to the governor’s office to be signed into law.