Snow-vember not too soon to discuss a snow day cure

We heard that legislators were already talking about what to do about snow day debt.

In November.

Yes, it’s wild that we’re already thinking about surpassing the state-granted six cancellation days for reasons “beyond their control,” such as snow.

But it’s also wild that many schools have racked up two snow days before Nov. 15; that ski resorts can open this weekend; and that record-breaking snow is piling up weeks ahead of seasonal snowplow hiring.

If this year is anything like the last one, snow day accrual may be a problem, and we should avoid repeating last year’s mistakes.

Snow day politics last year had adults throwing more snowballs at each other than the kids.

As January wore on, burying the six snow day-mark until a white, fluffy pile, we learned a few things:

That schools can request an extra three-day wavier, usually without a hitch.

That the former practice of tacking minutes on to the school day to make up time was no longer in fashion.

That there’s a number of strange rules around snow days, like the additional “snow day waivers” for up to six more days — but only if they happen after April 1.

That so many snow days can take real bites of hourly school staff paychecks, and that making this partisan and tacking it to snow day problem solving slows down the works.

Lastly, we learned that students, parents and school staff, employers — and just about everyone else — get pretty twitchy in May when the school year doesn’t have an end date.

So news that legislators are already talking is a positive sign.

Winter grasps northern Michigan tightly for six months; we are used to its wily ways and accept weather issues “we cannot control.”

But we can control who our state and legislators are, and we urge them to hash out the what-ifs as we stare down the barrel of a very snowy November, and into the snowy abyss beyond.

The last thing we want to do — again — is talk about snow days come spring.


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