Secondary Education — 14 January 2014
Media Reports of Changes to Snow Days Law Inaccurate | Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals

In the wake of the severe winter storms that shut down businesses and schools across much of Michigan early last week, several media outlets reported inaccurately that a new law had passed to change the state’s snow day policy. These reports mistakenly referenced a law passed in early 2013 that created an exception for the 2012-13 school year only. For the current school year, schools are limited to six days off (or an equivalent number of hours) for circumstances outside their control before being required to make up missed instructional time.

The relevant statute is MCL 388.1701, which says:

“… the first 6 days or the equivalent number of hours for which pupil instruction is not provided because of conditions not within the control of school authorities, such as severe storms, fires, epidemics, utility power unavailability, water or sewer failure, or health conditions as defined by the city, county, or state health authorities, shall be counted as hours and days of pupil instruction. With the approval of the superintendent of public instruction, the department shall count as hours and days of pupil instruction for a fiscal year not more than 6 additional days or the equivalent number of additional hours for which pupil instruction is not provided in a district after April 1 of the applicable school year due to unusual and extenuating occurrences resulting from conditions not within the control of school authorities such as those conditions described in this subsection. Subsequent such hours or days shall not be counted as hours or days of pupil instruction.”

By way of background, the legislation referenced in the inaccurate stories is PA 29 of 2013, which allowed schools to make up the lost instructional hours by extending their school days rather than scheduling make-up days in the summer.

There has been interest expressed by several groups in possibly seeking a similar solution for the current school year since many districts have already used their maximum number of allowable days off. As of now, no legislation has been introduced, but it seems likely that the issue will be a topic of debate in the very near future.

MASSP will keep members informed as this issue develops.

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Duy Nguyen

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