Senate passes bill giving districts a waiver for going over snow day allotment

The state Senate passed a bill Thursday that would spare school districts from losing funding this year for missing too many days due to last winter’s unusually inclement weather.

Under current law, school districts must provide at least 1,098 hours of instruction over the course of at least 170 days. If districts don't meet both the days and hours requirements, they are ineligible for state aid.

House Bill 4471 would change that requirement for the 2012-13 school year only, and allow districts that weren't open at least 170 days to continue receiving state funding, as long as they still meet the 1,098-hour minimum. Otherwise, school districts would have to tack on additional days at the end of the school year to fulfill the 170-day requirement.

To be eligible for the waiver, districts must have been closed only for conditions beyond the control of school authorities, such as severe storms, fires, utility outages or certain public health reasons.

A version of the bill passed the House, 109-1, on April 24. The Senate version passed by a 34-1 margin. It will now go back to the House for final approval.