Lawmaker Asks for a Break for School Days

This winter, school districts have canceled schools so many times for snow that one state lawmaker is asking the education commissioner to forgive the 180-day rule or the Legislature might have to step in.

State law requires that schools be in session for 180 days, and State Rep. Andy Fleischmann, a Democrat from West Hartford, said it would be a challenge for some districts that have closed not only for snowstorms, but also to clean off rooftops.

The state board of education can grant a waiver for unusual situations and Fleischmann will meet with Education Commissioner George Coleman to ask him to consider special waivers for schools that run out of time if they have to cancel more days.

Many school boards are shortening the February and April breaks to make up the lost days, which has been sufficient so far, but there will likely be more snow days, Fleischmann said.

Last week, Coleman issued a letter to superintendents around the state advising them that they should plan ahead and the state board of education would not ordinarily consider waiving the 180-day requirement this year because of school closures from result of inclement weather.

If the commissioner won't reconsider, Fleischmann said it's a matter that might be taken up by the Legislature.

"This is a unique year. We're on a path to having more snow days and more snowfall than any year since they've been keeping records, and that is an unusual emergency circumstance," Fleischmann said.

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