SENATE BILL 1281
The state Senate unanimously approved a bill March 19 to give schools greater flexibility to make up time missed as a result of weather emergencies, according to Senator Jake Corman, R-34th, the bill's sponsor.
Senate Bill 1281 would allow schools to calculate the school year on an hourly, rather than daily basis. In addition, the legislation would permit them to hold class on one Saturday per month to make up missed school days.
"Following this very severe winter, which resulted in an unusually high number of school cancelations and delays across the state, many school districts have asked for additional flexibility to make up missed days," Corman said. "This bill would enable schools to make rescheduling decisions that are in the best interests of students and families."
The bill mirrors previous weather emergency legislation passed by the General Assembly in 1996 as a result of flooding in the northwestern part of the state.
"Extending school into late June may not be the best option for schools or students for a number of reasons," Corman said. "This bill will provide schools with the flexibility to find a solution that works best for them to make up the missed instructional time."
"The bill also provides clarity on the issue," Corman added. "I have heard from a few school districts that legislation, similar to what was done with weather emergencies previously, would help clarify their planning processes."
The legislation is supported by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.
The legislation now goes to the full House for consideration.