Sen. Lauwers supports school ‘snow day’ flexibility

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

“It was important that we passed this bill this week so we could notify school districts and they could plan their calendars accordingly,” said Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “It was past time to stop discussing the issue and act.”

Lauwers said that House Bill 4206 is a one-time forgiveness solution that only applies to the current 2018-19 school year due to the especially extreme weather Michigan faced this winter.

Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill, but they did not support giving it immediate effect, which means the plan will not be in place for this school year.

“It is a shame that this bill will not be able to help with school scheduling,” Lauwers said. “As a result of Democrats withholding immediate effect, schools will not be able to adjust the school calendar and parents remain uncertain as to when their kids will end their school year.”

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.

If HB 4026 had been given immediate effect, it would have effectively forgiven 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).