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No pay for snow days? Some districts considering it

9:45 PM, Jan 8, 2014   |    comments
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MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM) -- Some schools have not reopened yet this week, and while most teachers in the state are paid for the day out of the classroom, some in West Michigan now are not.

The Montague school district is 100 square miles and includes wide open farmland. The cold, snow, and wind combination was the reason Montague interim Superintendent John Weaver called off school Wednesday. It's something he is doing a lot this school year.

"The day before Christmas break was a snow day due to the road conditions and the snow. Then we had Monday, Tuesday, and today, so that makes four of the allowed six."

In Montague, teachers will be paid for the snow day. But districts around the state are re-examining that practice. "I think as the money gets tighter and tighter and fund balances go down, we are going to see some rather unique approaches to solve those budget problems," said Dave Sipka of the Muskegon Area ISD. "One of those that seems to be happening around the state is to have teachers to have no pay days for snow days. "

Sipka says schools around the state are operating more like the business community. "If you look at many of the businesses around, if you do not work on a given day then you are not going to get paid. And I think that is carrying over to schools and breaking a long-time tradition of teachers getting paid for snow days."

Muskegon Public School teachers were on a snow day Wednesday; last month teachers and the school board agreed on a contract that means the first three snow days this year are unpaid. This creates savings opportunities that other area school districts may be looking at when current contracts expire.

"For every day that teachers do not work, it results in about half a percent on the salary schedule," said Sipka.

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