ALMA (KFSM)-A proposed bill would allow students in Arkansas to make up snow days by the hour, instead of adding days to the end of the year.
The lead sponsor of the bill is Rep. Charlotte Douglas of Alma.
House Bill 1313 cleared in the Education Committee on Tuesday (Feb. 17). If the bill becomes law, it would allow school days to be made-up in 60 minute increments if a superintendent cancels regularly scheduled classes due to a contagious disease outbreak, inclement weather or other emergency circumstances.
“I think that would be a good idea because it leaves more summer time and less school,” Kad Lloyd, Alma Middle School student said.
The 8th grader said having nine snow days last year cut into her summer.
Currently most schools make up snow-days by tacking on days in June or taking time out of spring break or holidays, according to Alma Schools Superintendent David Woolly. He said the proposed legislation would just give educators an extra option.
“Nobody wants to be in school on Saturday,” Supt. Woolly said. “Nobody wants to be in school in June, so it becomes a difficult decision, ‘What's the best way that we can have a productive day of education?’”
Extending the school day does raise some concern for parents like Brandie Wingfield.
“I wouldn't think it would be too bad as long as it wasn't stretching out too far,” she said, “but now with some of us having later work schedules, it's harder to get around to pick up our kids.”
She also worries a longer school day will cut into her children’s after school activities and homework.
“I don't think that would be too bad, just as long as they're not doing it all the time,” Wingfield said.
The sponsor of the proposed legislation is a former teacher.
“Rep. Douglas is a good friend to education in the legislature, and she always contacts us and wants to know what our opinion is on various legislation, and she certainly did in this case too,” Supt. Woolly said.
The bill is set for a vote in the house on Thursday (Feb. 19).