House Bill regarding snow day forgiveness heads to governor’s desk for signature

By Megan Kelley
Review Writer
Lake Orion Community Schools, along with several other school districts in Michigan, saw a rapid increase in snow days during the early months of 2019.
Lake Orion schools racked up a total of 11 canceled days due to unsafe weather conditions. Carpenter Elementary lost an additional three instruction days because of building issues.
While the district has made steps applying to be forgiven for an additional three days over the allotted six days with the state’s Dept. of Education, securing nine forgiven days total, it still leaves the majority of Lake Orion with two potential days to make up at the end of the school year.
However, with House Bill 4206 passing through the House on April 17, districts waited to make final calendar decisions until they knew for certain that they would even have days to make up.
House Bill 4206 passed through the Senate unanimously on May 1.
The bill states that for 2018-2019 only, days that were missed during a governor-declared state of emergency would count as days and hours of instruction.
The days included in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s state of emergency executive order are Jan. 29 to Feb. 2.
After a stand off between the Senate Republican majority and the Democratic minority, the bill was not amended to include a clause that would guarantee pay for hourly workers or non-teaching staff (bus drivers, lunchroom workers, etc.) during those days. The decision to pay hourly workers would be left up the districts, according to the bill.
Next stop for House Bill 4206 is Gov. Whitmer’s desk for her signature.
Once signed, the bill will go into immediate effect and Lake Orion schools will no longer be expected to have days to make up (excluding Carpenter).
It is unclear whether or not schools will need to request these days off from the state Superintendent.
Should the bill remain unsigned by the end of the school year, LOCS will have two days to make up (Carpenter Elementary, five).
LOCS’s Superintendent Marion Ginopolis stated on April 26, in an update on the district website, that this would extend the district calendar to June 18 (June 21 for Carpenter).
Additionally, the district will still be expected to have at least 75 percent of their students in attendance in order to receive funding for those particular days.
“When we shared the previous calendar update two months ago, we hoped to have a resolution by now,” Ginopolis said in her April 26 update. “We ask that you anticipate your students being in school through June 18 and hopefully we will get some more relief in the near future.”