Bill to forgive missed school days passes House

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Legislature took a step closer to giving a sort of scheduling relief to some of the state's school districts hit by tornadoes.

The Alabama House passed a bill that would allow school boards to vote on not making up days missed due to disruptions caused by tornadoes.

Under the proposal, the governor would have to declare an emergency for the affected district and the school board would then petition to either not make up days or to add hours to remaining days.

It passed by a 101-0 margin.

Rep. Ed Henry (R – Decatur) sponsored the legislation in the House and Sen. Arthur Orr, (R – Decatur) in the Senate.

"Students were looking at going into June" Henry said. "Working on Saturdays which are not productive school days and so the bill gave us flexibility in the plan."

All state public schools are required to hold 180 instructional days throughout the year. Henry claims this bill will give schools adversely affected by severe weather and natural disasters will give public schools major flexibility.

The only debate on the bill had to do with who had the authority to declare a disaster that would allow school boards to petition the governor's office to not make up school days.

Rep. Jeremy Oden, (R – Cullman) argued the Federal Government shouldn't have any say in whether a part of Alabama was in a state of emergency.

"I don't want another Federal Government intrusion" Oden said.

He added an amendment that led to the governor having the final authority to declare a disaster.

The Senate left the decision up to both the governor and the President of the United States.

The bill now goes to the Senate where it can vote to concur on the measure and send it to Governor Robert Bentley's desk or to not concur which would send the bill to a conference committee between House and Senate members.

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