LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Jon Bumstead 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.
“I supported this bill to provide much-needed relief for schools due to this year’s extreme weather, but since none of the Democrats would support immediate effect on this legislation, it won’t actually help schools when they need it,” said Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “Every senator voted in favor of this legislation, but failure to approve immediate effect knowingly delays implementation to the end of our legislative term and effectively denies schools the forgiveness of snow days.”
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.
“It’s really disappointing that such a simple bill aimed at helping our schools had to become a victim of political games,” Bumstead said. “I know some districts that have had upward of 20 snow days, and some districts will already be going well into the summer. This bill would have simply eliminated some of the burden on teachers, students and parents this summer.”