State move to address snow day issue a good one

Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation last week that should make it easier for Michigan schools to make up for the excessive number of snow days brought on by this year’s prolonged winter.

The legislation will allow school districts with more than six snow days this year to extend the length of their remaining days, rather than tacking extra days on to the end of the district calendar.

Under the legislation, the minimum requirement of 170 school days is waived, but schools must still provide 1,098 total hours of instruction for the academic year.

In signing the bill, Snyder said the bill should help schools, especially those in western and northern Michigan.

We agree, and we applaud Snyder and the Michigan legislature for being responsible and coming to the need of districts across Michigan.

By allowing schools to add a few minutes to each day, the state has likely made lives easier for countless families planning early summer trips and vacations. Additionally, the legislation will prevent districts from footing the bills – for utilites and busing, primarily – to keep the doors open into the summer months.

One Lower Peninsula school district, Morley Stanwood Community Schools, missed 15 days this year, and the situation isn’t much better around here. In a Mining Journal story from March, a pair of local school officials said this winter brought more weather-related school closures than they could remember.

This winter and spring brought some rough weather events – the bill also includes a provision helping schools affected by the widespread flooding around the state – but this issue very likely won’t come up every year.

We’re glad the governor and the state recognized a need to make an exception in this case.