It didn't take long for the Minnesota legislature to glom on to all the winter weather headaches Mother Nature has thrown our way this year. Rochester State Senator Carla Nelson has put together a bill that would create flexibility for schools moving forward meet state calendar requirements and better serve students when inclement weather happens.

Currently, districts and local leaders could face funding shortages and other penalties for failing to meet the mandated number of days in session in a school year. The unusually high number of weather closures we have had this winter has left school officials across the state grappling with how to make up for lost time and meet the state-mandated 165 days of instruction before the end of the school year. As a result of the tough winter weather canceling school days, some school districts are canceling planned holidays and teacher-training sessions. Others are contemplating adding on days in May or June.

State Senator Nelson’s bill seeks to help districts across the state should they face similar crunches in the future by giving local school boards the ability to vote to count snow days as regular instruction. The bill also encourages schools that aren't engaging in e-learning during the weather closings "to adopt an e-learning day plan under Minnesota Statutes, section 120A.414."

The bill was introduced on Monday in the Senate and was steered to the E-12 Finance and Policy Committee. The bill is on the agenda for today's 3:00 p.m. committee meeting.