State adds extra week of school for next year

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Local school districts are adding more days in the classroom to comply with controversial new state mandates from the Michigan Department of Education. Supporters say it will give kids more time to learn, but not everyone's a fan of extending the school year.

"I don't see anything wrong with that," said Adam Weldon, principal of Carpenter Elementary in Lake Orion. "Seat time is not a bad thing because it gets them in the schools and it gets them learning."

A department of education spokesperson tells FOX 2 Tuesday that right now, 1,090 hours of instruction are required per school year, or about 175 days. In the 2016-2017 school year, that number will increase to 180. Schools can still decide when the school year starts and stops as long as the required days are met.

"Anytime you can increase education, it's definitely a good thing," said parent Gerald Allen.

In previous years, the number of required school days sat at 170, and before that, 165. Right now, the state allows six days off for school interruptions like snow days.

Darius Mills, a junior at Pontiac High School, cringes at the thought of an extended school year.

"We already had another week added, so another week is just pointless," he said. "What do we need an extra week of school for?"

A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Education says each school can request a waiver to start a week earlier before Labor Day and if not, they'd have to make those days up at the end of the year.

Weldon says the kids at his school shouldn't feel the effects much as Carpenter is already a year-round, or "balanced calendar" school. It has scheduled breaks throughout the year and only a six-week summer break.

"A lot of times, once they hit that six-week break, kids are bored," Weldon said. "You hit the beginning of August, and it's, 'Well, I'm ready to see my friends every day. I'm ready to get back into a routine.'"

"At that age, the only kids that notice is the high school kids because they're so eager to get out," says Allen.

While many seem to think an extra week of school is not a bad idea, Mills says he'd like to see a compromise.

"It's fine for the little kids, though. I don't really find nothing much for the older kids," he says.