Mid-Michigan superintendents talk snow days - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Mid-Michigan superintendents talk snow days

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(04/10/14) - With a nice day across Mid-Michigan, a snow day is probably far from anyone's mind.

But after the harsh winter, school district leaders still have a lot of questions about making up class time lost to bad weather.

They met Thursday in Saginaw Township to talk about those snow days.

About a dozen superintendents were at that meeting. Many are waiting to see how the state will address problems like this in the future.

"Until MDE actually states, this is how it's going to be interpreted, we're still in limbo," said Don Killingbeck Jr., superintendent of Hemlock Schools.

Districts all across the state were forced to cancel classes repeatedly this winter because of heavy snow and dangerous wind chills.

Killingbeck says the brutal winter made it difficult for students and parents.

"This winter was extremely tough on families for parents that work, with kids that had to stay home, particularly the cold temperatures, it was difficult at the bus stops for students," he said.

"I mean, we were down negative 20, we use a negative 20 wind chill, at that point we take a look at whether we're going to cancel or not. There was a number of days we were beyond a negative 20," said Richard Syrek, with Saginaw ISD.

The Michigan legislature might give districts across the state more flexibility in the future when the snow piles up.

State law requires students to be in class for 1,098 hours of instructional time - or 170 days.

The Michigan Department of Education does allow up to six grace days.

Superintendents hope Lansing will come up with a more permanent solution when it comes to making up for excessive lost time.

"We're in good shape with the number of clock hours, we have well over the 1,098 hours for each building with the number of days we have in place and so it's just a matter of waiting on this bill to be signed into law or informing parents that we may have a day to make up," Killingbeck said.

Many districts will be forced to add additional days to the end of the school year or extra hours to the individual days.

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