A new pilot program and possible new legislation could give school districts more options to make up days missed during winter weather.
"Tagging them on at the end of the school year for high school students is a tough thing. We lose them to vacations, to colleges and certainly lose their interest," said York Suburban School District Superintendent Michele Merkle.
The pilot program was introduced by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in September. It allows school districts flexible non-traditional methods of teaching when schools are cancelled during bad weather. Some York County school districts like York Suburban support this plan. They cancelled six school days in 2014.
"There are options to provide school on Saturday, or extend a day, evening programs and/or cyber programs where students learn at home, on the very day they miss school through the snow," added Superintendent Merkle.
Those proposals would need approval from the state education department. Parents like Dan McMillian support the idea. "[Don't] tag it on to the end of the year because of [some students go on] vacation and some have jobs they have to go to and everything, so I think it's a good idea to let them work from home and do classes or whatever."
A bill introduced in the Pennsylvania's House would allow the state to declare a weather emergency at the district, county or state level. It gives schools the option to meet the required 180 days of school with a minimum of 900 hours of instruction at the elementary level or 990 hours at the secondary level. That bill now awaits the full House.