Bill would aid Minnesota schools struggling with snow days; Schools would have the ability to opt for fewer days than the 165 required by state

Published 8:02 am Thursday, February 28, 2019

By Brian Bakst

MPR News/90.1 FM

A bill that key lawmakers have put on the fast track would give district boards the ability to vote to have fewer than the state-required 165 days of instruction this year.

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The plan is to move the bill as quickly as possible to provide clarity to districts well before the end of session in May and the end of the school year in June. Districts would be required to report to the state how many days they held class during the year.

Senate Education Chair Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, said it would protect districts from any possible fallout.

“They could lose funding,” said Nelson, chief sponsor of the legislation. “The superintendent, technically the school district, could be sued. There are all kinds of ridiculous possibilities.”

Many districts have canceled a week or more of school over the last two months, with some in southern Minnesota having to call off school for nine days due to snow or extreme cold.

Other schools were able to shift to electronic learning days.

Read more about how Austin Public Schools is coping with the loss of school days: Snow days a plenty, APS adjusts schedules to make up cancelled days; Pair of half days may be changed to full days