By David Fleet
The recent Feb. 5 snow day following Super Bowl Sunday marked the sixth for the Brandon and Goodrich School districts.
The half dozen days off maxed out the number allowed by the State of Michigan prompting distinct officials to explore some options the next time it snows.
“It’s still early February and I have a feeling winter is not over yet so we’ll have to make up some time,” said Goodrich Superintendent Ryan Relken.
“It’s about safety for those traveling on winter roads.”
Relken, like other school officials can add more time to the school year to compensate for the snow days.
The State of Michigan allows six days or equivalent hours for inclement weather, sickness or building issues. While the majority of the days are used for snow, both Goodrich and Brandon also used a day off Nov. 15 due to the shooting in Ortonville.
All Michigan schools that receive state aid are required to have 180 days of school. Any classroom time missed beyond the six days must be rescheduled in order to receive the full amount of school aid funds.
Brandon Schools Superintendent, Matt Outlaw addressed the issue on Tuesday.
“After yesterday’s (Feb. 5), snow day, I know that many were wondering about what we do if we have more than six snow days,” said Outlaw.
Outlaw said elementary students would have to make up 15 minutes total if it is one day and 380 minutes if it was two. This might be accomplished by starting instruction five minutes early for a certain number of days for example. The middle and high school would not need to be made up.
If the district had three or more snow days or emergency days the district would petition the state for an additional three days of forgiven time for the year, the maximum that can be requested.
“If that request was denied, we would discuss options to remain in compliance,” he said. “We will see what Mother Nature has in store for us.”
Michigan Department of Education spokesman Bill DiSessa said districts are provided three days and can ask for a snow day waiver, with the approval of the state superintendent.
“That would be up to nine days total,” said DiSessa. “That’s for issues beyond the districts control such as a broken boiler or anything that impacts students getting to class.”