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State Board of Education opposes snow-day bill

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A new bill may change how schools make up lost instruction time due to snow days.

The State Board of Education is recommending Michigan public school districts add additional days, not additional hours, to the school year to make up for this year’s snow days.

Last year, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill allowing districts exceeding the state's snow day limit to add hours to class time instead of extra days.

But the law only applied for the 2012-2013 school year.

Now legislators in Lansing are trying to extend that option indefinitely with House Bill 5285.

State Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac, a sponsor of the bill, says districts who choose to make up for lost instruction time will have to add a minimum of 30 minutes to the school day.

“Two to five minutes doesn't do anything and that's exactly what happened last year,” said Potvin. “And that's why in revising this, we added 30 minutes as a minimum.”

The State Board of Education says that adding days is better for students. The Board argues tacking minutes onto the school day makes it harder for teachers to deliver missed lessons.

From the Board's press release:

“Full replacement days offer every student the full extent of quality instruction that they missed when the school was closed. This method allows teachers to complete their full lesson plans with integrity and provide students with the appropriate depth of instruction they need to meet their instructional goals for every class.”

Record-breaking snowfall and subzero temperatures forced many school districts to cancel many days of classes during the so-called polar vortex.

– Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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