Will school staff be paid while schools are closed?

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EAST LANSING, MI (WILX) - With schools across Michigan closed, some workers are not collecting a paycheck right now.

Senator Curtis Hertel, (D), East Lansing, is pushing an amendment to the School Aid Act to have these days out of the classroom forgiven.

That way, students won't have to make them up later in the summer and districts can use that money to pay hourly employees.

"This is a once in a lifetime thing. It's once in several lifetimes, and we all have to treat each other with grace and respect, but also make sure that we're taking care of people," said Senator Hertel.

Tuesday, senators passed a bill to provide money for combating the virus, but lawmakers left Lansing without a solution for schools.

"At this point, schools need certainty. We could've gave them that certainty yesterday, and unfortunately, we adjourned session without doing that," said Senator Hertel.

Teachers union AFT Michigan is asking parents to contact their representatives and urge them to forgive the days.

"Obviously schools didn't decide to close. This is a global crisis. At the federal level, they're talking about bailing out Boeing. I'm just saying that if we're going to bail out Boeing, we probably should bail out bus drivers, as well," said Senator Hertel.

The Senate is set to resume session Wednesday, March 25.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said, "We are monitoring the impact of this crisis on the school calendar. Our students are our top priority and as we begin to get a clearer picture of how long schools will be closed, we will work with the governor and school officials to determine what the school calendar should look like and how it is funded.

Many teachers are doing outstanding work to ensure our children continue to learn during this time away from the classroom. And, many school employees are helping provide meals to students. We are committed to taking care of the people who are taking care of Michigan's children."

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