UP schools wait for 'snow day forgiveness bill' to pass before setting last day

Published: Apr. 16, 2019 at 4:44 PM EDT
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For staff and students, one date really sticks out on a calendar--the last day of school. But for many Upper Peninsula schools, that date isn’t quite set in stone.

As of Tuesday, the tentative last day of school for Marquette Area Public Schools is Wednesday, June 12. This date comes three days after their original last day on Friday, June 7.

Nine out of their 12.5 snow days have been forgiven by the state between regulations and approved waivers.

Now, the district is waiting on where the remaining days stand with the latest snow day legislation.

"We were off two days during that week when Governor [Gretchen] Whitmer issued that state of emergency, so if they forgive those two emergency days we would be able to have our last day on that Monday, June 10," said Superintendent, Bill Saunders.

Escanaba, Houghton and N.I.C.E schools are also in a similar waiting game.

Superintendents are waiting for the state to decide if their snow days called during the state of emergency in January will be forgiven.

"I was in Lansing last week and actually talked to the Governor’s office," said Bryan DeAugustine, the superintendent of N.I.C.E Community Schools. "They told me that the snow day issue is being discussed in committee, but we are not quite sure what will happen. There’s a possibility that they will forgive all of the days, a possibility they won’t forgive any or they might forgive a couple of them."

With the last day in question, attendance rates for the final days are also becoming a concern for schools.

"So if I tell people and allow them to start making plans, we might not hit that attendance number and then we lose that state aid for those days as well," said Saunders.

M.A.P.S. says on a typical day they need 75 percent attendance and on make-up days its 60 percent.

"60 percent isn’t quite as easy as to get when you already have 250 seniors that are out two weeks early," said Saunders.

As of April, the snow day forgiveness bill has moved to the full House of Representatives and would need 56 affirmative votes to pass.

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