A bill that would forgive Michigan school districts from making up school days cancelled when the governor declares a state of emergency passed the state House this week. HB 4206 now heads to the Senate, where we need to urge approval as soon as possible next week.
State law currently provides six snow days per year, and districts can apply to receive a waiver from the state Superintendent for an additional three days. Many districts this year have experienced many additional snow days.
In addition, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency during extreme cold weather in January which prompted additional closures.
In addition to forgiving school closures that occur during state of emergency declarations, HB 4206 includes two temporary changes.
For hourly employees, districts would be required in the short term to compensate hourly employees for state of emergency days – or provide compensation or a benefit based on a written agreement with the bargaining unit. However, employees covered by a contract signed after the date of the bill’s enactment would not be required to be paid, so the change would be short-lived unless bargained.
For districts with greater than 14 snow days this year – for this 2018-19 school year only – makeup time can be added to scheduled days in 30-minute increments up to 14 days.
The Senate Education Committee passed its own version of legislation dealing with the emergency days, but only for this year and with no relief for hourly employees. Be sure to encourage senators to pass the House bill.