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New legislation shaves off some make-up days for LOCS

April 23, 2014 - By Meg Peters

Review Staff Writer

Lake Orion students were informed of another change to the year-end calendar last week.

Instead of having to stay in school until June 20, even June 23 for some students, now most students will get out on June 17.

At the beginning of the month Governor Rick Snyder signed additional wording into the current supplemental budget bill to relieve six to eight special circumstance districts like Lake Orion from making up every snow day over budget.

All elementary schools, including year-round Carpenter Elementary, and middle schools will be in school all day Friday, June 13, Monday, June 16 and Tuesday, June 17, with an a.m. half-day Wednesday, June 18, the last day of the year.

Lake Orion High School and the Learning Options program will not have a late-start day Wednesday, May 7 or Wednesday, June 4, but a full day. They will also attend full days of school Thursday, June 12 and Friday, June 13, and have half-days for final exams Monday, June 16 and Tuesday, June 17, their last day of school.

High School seniors' schedule has not changed. Their last day is still May 30. 

Districts are currently required to have school 170 days a year with 1,098 hours of instruction, and are allowed to miss school up to six days for snow days or other unpredictable emergencies, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

At this point Carpenter Elementary students have missed nine days, Oakview Middle School students have missed 12 days, and every other school has missed 11 days.

Furthermore, Lake Orion is set apart from other districts who are in school because of a stipulation in the school aid act from 2009-10, which required the 170 days/1,098 hours law or however many days the district had in the 2009-10 school year.

Because the high school was in session for 180 days, the middle schools were in session for 177 days and the elementary schools 176 days in the 2009-10 school year, the district's calendar has maintained that schedule for the last four years, several days beyond the requirement.

Superintendent Marion Ginopolis wrote to state legislators and the Michigan Board of Education asking for relief from the 2009-2010 ruling to give these districts grandfathered to the stipulation the ability to count some of those extra days.  

The amendment, spearheaded by Ginopolis and 12th District Senator Jim Marleau, was written into the state aid stipulation legislation for the current year to allow the threshold for districts like Lake Orion to be 174 days instead of 170.

"In my opinion this would have been a morale killer if we couldn't get this taken care of," Marleau said. "I was looking at the families, the children and the summer commitments. You start running into attendance problems, shorter attention spans, it's getting warmer outside, a lot of things happen and it becomes hard to teach," Marleau said.

Although the amendment still requires the 1,098 hours of instruction, it allowed Ginopolis to shave off a few extra days the schools would have had to make up.

At least 60 percent of students must be in attendance during the makeup schedule in order for the district to not be penalized in a slashing of state financial aid.

Normally 75 percent attendance is required, Ginopolis said, but for just this year the Michigan Department of Education OK'd 60 percent.

Beginning in the fall of 2014, students will have to be in attendance for 175 days.

For any questions contact the administration building at 248-693-5400.

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