State making school year longer

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Summer break is getting a little shorter for many students in Michigan. A new state mandate is forcing some schools to add a week of class time this upcoming year.

That has parents like Heather Paris are happy her kids are taking advantage of their first few days of summer break, since this year their vacation is getting cut short.

"The kids need that break," Paris said.

The state is requiring schools to have at least 180 days of instruction time. Most districts are either adding days at the end of the year or getting a waiver from the state to start before Labor Day.

Paris' kids are in the latter, and while she sees the benefits of extra class time she has her concerns.

"They work hard during the year and they're kids so having that time to explore and have the freedom of summer is a gift," Paris added.

Some districts are closer to the new guideline like Holt which only has to add 1 day, but Lansing schools are looking at up to 7 additional days.

"We have to make it work," said School Board President Peter Spadafore. "In my opinion more days is good for students."

That change won't happen right away. Lansing's new calendar will start in the fall of 2018 because of teacher contracts. Spadafore says that is giving the district time to figure out how to make the longer school year work with the budget.

"What would be nice is if we could add those days to the beginning of the calendar not just necessarily go longer in June," he added.

The Department of Education is on board with the longer school year. It's hoping the more time kids spend in class the less chance they'll will fall into the summer slide. A spokesman tells News 10 that will make so teachers won't have as much catching up to do on the first day.

Now with the change just a few months away for Paris' kids, she's hoping the transition will be easy for them and their teachers.

"It's just putting more on teachers and I wonder what they're getting in exchange because they work so hard already," Paris added.