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Lawmaker wants more snow days for schools without having to make up time

Michigan was clobbered by snow and ice storms in January and February.
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
Michigan was clobbered by snow and ice storms in January and February.

Bitter cold weather and snow continues to cause Michigan schools to cancel days.

Many Michigan school districts have already called off classes for six or more days. That’s the limit on how many days schools can close without tacking on extra time at the end of the school year.

One state lawmaker says it’s time to allow districts to cancel more days without having to make up that time later.

“In looking ahead, trying to be prepared, I’ve looked at moving that number that we allow from six up to nine,” said state Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac.

“Safety is the biggest issue here.”

Potvin worries some districts may be less willing to cancel school in bad conditions once they hit the limit.

He also wants to give schools the option of extending the length of instructional days to make up any time. He says adding full days costs districts – especially ones in rural areas like his – a lot of money in travel expenses.

“The Cadillac community where I live, we’re talking thousands of dollars a day in transportation costs,” he said. “And you’ve already got people in place. Let’s extend that school day a little bit.”

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan worries that plan would result in less quality instruction time for students.

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