On March 27, 2014, the Michigan Legislature passed House Bill 4295 of 2013. Although Governor Snyder has yet to sign HB 4295 into law, he is expected to do so before the Legislature returns from its Spring Break on April 17. This supplemental aid bill makes numerous changes to the State School Aid Act's days and hours requirements for both the 2013-2014 and the 2014-2015 school years.
HB 4295 allows school districts that had scheduled more than 174 days of instruction in the 2013-2014 school year to provide at least 174 days instead of their scheduled number in excess of that amount, so long as they still meet the minimum 1,098 hours within those 174 days. It also allows school districts to receive their full state aid for make-up days if at least 60% of their students attend on that day, which is less than the current requirement of 75%. If less than 60% of a school district's students attend the make-up day, then the school district may still receive state aid on a prorated basis of the percentage of students who actually attend that day.
Section 101(3)(a) of the State School Aid Act states that, beginning in 2014-2015, to be eligible to receive full state aid a school district must provide at least 1,098 hours and at least 175 days of pupil instruction. However, Section 101(3)(a)(iii) of HB 4295 states:
If a collective bargaining agreement that provides for at least 170 days but less than 175 days, and at least 1,098 hours, of pupil instruction is in effect for employees of a district as of June 13, 2013, then until the school year that begins after the expiration of that collective bargaining agreement the district shall provide at least the number of days of pupil instruction identified in the collective bargaining agreement, and at least 1,098 hours of pupil instruction.(emphasis added).
Section 101(10) of the State School Aid Act states that, beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, a school district may no longer count up to 38 hours of qualifying professional development for teachers as hours of pupil instruction for the purpose of reaching the 1,098 clock hour requirement. HB 4295, however, states:
. . . if a collective bargaining agreement that provides for the counting of up to 38 hours of qualifying professional development for teachers as pupil instruction is in effect for employees of a district as of June 13, 2013, then until the school year that begins after the expiration of that collective bargaining agreement a district may count up to the contractually specified number of hours of qualifying professional development for teachers as hours of pupil instruction. (emphasis added).
In light of these changes, school districts should review their calendars and the language within their collective bargaining agreements to determine if they comply with the new days and hours requirements.