Sen. Ruth Johnson supports school ‘snow day’ flexibility

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Ruth Johnson supported legislation to give more flexibility to many schools that were forced to cancel several school days this winter due to unusually harsh weather.

“The safety of our children at school and while getting to and from school should be the top priority,” said Johnson, R-Holly. “This measure is an appropriate balance between ensuring Michigan students receive the instruction they need and allowing schools to always protect students during extraordinary weather conditions.”

Michigan requires schools to provide a minimum of 180 days and 1,098 hours of instruction per year. Schools are currently forgiven up to six “snow days” when school is canceled due to dangerous weather, and schools can get a waiver from the state superintendent for three additional forgiven snow days.

House Bill 4206 would effectively forgive schools up to four additional snow days this year for any days schools canceled during the governor’s declared state of emergency (Jan. 29 through Feb. 1). The bill would only apply to the 2018-19 school year.

Any snow days beyond four additional days would need to be rescheduled or the school could potentially lose a portion of their funding from the state.

“The extremely cold winter along with the fire at a Consumers Energy facility left many local districts no choice but to cancel several school days,” Johnson said. “This gives districts a little extra flexibility to address this for the current school year.”

HB 4206 now heads to the governor.

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