Schools planning on extending year into the summer as legislators try to help

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DURAND (WJRT) (2/11/2019) - Schools are planning on moving classes into the summer after going over the state allowed six weather-related closures.

Durand schools have used 12 snow days this school year. Superintendent Craig McCrumb is applying for a waiver that could waive three additional days.

If successful, the district would still need to make up three days to meet the state of Michigan's minimum of holding class 180 days per school year.

Other superintendents in districts around the area are also applying for the three-day waiver. However, for the remaining days, McCrumb is asking parents to prepare for the school year extending into summer.

"We know its coming, and we know its probably coming tomorrow, and there's a chance it could happen next week,” McCrumb said.

He is rolling with the punches now.

"No matter how many snow days we have we always going to call it if the snow is coming and the ice is coming. You know we are always going to put the safety of the students first,” McCrumb said.

He said there's a chance the school year could extend beyond June 5. He wants parents to make sure to plan out several days after that as a safety net.

"I want you to block out between June 6 to June 14, which allows for seven days and that will be the grace,” McCrumb said.

Durand schools aren't the only one planning out extra days. Davison Community Schools are bringing kids to class this Friday instead of the scheduled teacher work day.

Bentley Community Schools are planning to make up some of their extra snow days on April 22 and their school year is extended to include Friday, June 14.

Grand Blanc Community Schools has used nine days, which could be fine if the state superintendent approves the three-day waiver. In a letter to parents, Superintendent Clarence Garner says they'll be updating parents if students have to make up days.

One Durand parent says she's OK with the extension as long as her kids get to school safely.

"I'm willing to go into summer because I know that is the safest thing for my kids right now,” Lisa Goodwill said.

State legislators may come to the rescue before school districts have to add a significant number of days.

RELATED: Snow days during State of Emergency would be forgiven under new plan

State Rep. Ben Frederick, a Republican from Owosso, announced on Monday that he is working on legislation that would allow schools not to count Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 as snow days.

“Closing school wasn’t so much of a choice as it was a necessity,” Frederick said. “When the weather is so bad emergency officials are telling people to stay off the roads in the interest of public safety, it makes good sense to forgive those days.”

Under his plan, schools that close during a weather-related State of Emergency would get amnesty for those days, so the snow days wouldn't count toward the annual allotment of six.

Frederick said he started working on legislation after a Byron teacher approached him with the idea.

“This plan strikes the right balance by providing relief for days when an emergency is declared, while still ensuring our kids spend an adequate amount of time in the classroom,” Frederick said. "It’s fair for everyone.”

State Sen. Jim Ananich, a Democrat from Flint, also has floated a new state law that would exempt snow days from counting against schools during a State of Emergency. That would give back three of last week's snow days -- and any future snow days during a State of Emergency.

Ananich also is mulling a proposal that would give back all snow days that school districts incurred this year because the weather has been extreme.

He is considering both approaches and bills to be drafted before submitting any formal legislation.

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