School administrators weigh in on passage of bill that would forgive snow days

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Grand Blanc, Michigan (WJRT) - (05/02/2019) - The superintendent of the largest school district in Genesee County weighs in on passage of legislation that would forgive schools from having to make up snow days taken during the arctic freeze.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency when Michigan was dealing with bitter cold at the end of January.

Her signature would allow the bill to go into effect this school year.

School Superintendent Clarence Garner is thankful the legislature was finally able to get something passed.

"They did get this resolved," he said,"it needed to be, not just for Grand Blanc, but for all schools in the state of Michigan."

Setting the school calendar when you have 8,200 students, and don't know how many snow days the state is going to forgive, is no easy task:

"I think for our families it was very frustrating," Garner said, "I know we were receiving calls about this."

After waiting for lawmakers to act, Garner finally sent a letter to parents Wednesday informing them the last day of school would be on Monday, June 17th.

He offered a caveat, that if any changes to the make up day were made he would notify everyone, which he now plans to do. The the school year would end on Friday, June 14th once it's official:

"If the governor does sign the bill," he said,"we will not have to make up any days."

We asked Garner how he feels about the latest development:

"I'm very happy and I know our parents are as well," he replied.

Mother of three Catherine Lee, whose daughter plays soceer for Grand Blanc, is excited to hear snow days taken during the state of emergency will most likely be forgiven.

"It was unsafe to travel," Lee said,"that's not anyone's fault. It's not the school district's fault, and we shouldn't punish the kids for that or the administration."

Garner also noted that since this is Michigan, it's going to be important for school districts to have a plan moving forward.

Perhaps taking a look at technology and coming up with ways to educate kids even if they're not in school.

We also reached out to Tim Stein, the superintendent of Flushing Community Schools, which has an enrollment of about 4,100 students.

If the bill is signed into law by the governor, Stein says they will be able to end the school year for the high school on Friday, June 7th.

They were looking at having to extend the school year until the 10th and 11th of June. Now they will be able to stick to their original calendar.

Likewise for Bentley Community Schools in Burton, which has 830 students enrolled in grades K-12.

Superintendent Kirsty Spann says she's grateful lawmakers were able to pass a bill. Once its signed into law, she will be able to end the school year as planned on June 13th.

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