LANSING (AP) – The State Board of Education is encouraging Michigan public school districts that exceed six snow days to replace lost time with full days of instruction.

The board took a unanimous stance on the issue this week. The approach is recommended by the board instead of adding hours to remaining days on existing school calendars, which could be allowed under legislation that has been introduced in Lansing.

“Full replacement days offer every student the full extent of quality instruction that they missed when the school was closed, the board said in a statement. “This method allows teachers to complete their full lesson plans with integrity and provide students with the appropriate depth of instruction they need to meet their instructional goals for every class.

“This is the better strategy to ensure that students will be ready for career, college, and community.”

State law allows a school district to have six snow days. That limit has been pressed this year in districts across the state that closed because of heavy snow, dangerously cold temperatures or a combination of both. Many shut for days in January.

Any snow days beyond six must be replaced for a district to get full state funding.

At Hamilton Community Schools, where students were scheduled off this coming Monday, The Grand Rapids Press reported that Superintendent Dave Tebo has added it as a regular instruction day. So far this school year, the district has closed for eight days and also after a teacher died in a crash.

“I am not ready at this point to reschedule the other day and will wait to see what the rest of this winter season brings,” Tebo wrote in a letter to parents. “Once we have confirmation on the remaining number of days to be made up, I will communicate that plan to you.”

In Greenville, the district has closed for 12 1/2 days, near the system’s 14 days-closed record set in 2006-07. Superintendent Peter Haines has announced the district will extend its school year by at least five days, taking them into the second week of June.

“This has certainly been an outlying year for us. I hope we do not see that record again,” said Haines, who asked families to alter vacation plans and other commitments.

[House Bill 5285]

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