Governor’s freebie snow day contradicts state education law, needs Education Dept. approval

New York News
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Governor Andrew Cuomo got the attention of New York’s students and their families on Sunday when he announced a freebie snow day.

With the impending dangerous winds, Governor Cuomo attempted to take the pressure off of superintendents who might have to balance keeping school open with snow days running out.

Cuomo announced:

“In the face of high winds that threaten to disrupt traffic signals and cause power outages, the Amherst Central School District has decided to close schools on Monday. My administration has been in contact with the New York State Education Department and it has confirmed that the day will not be held against the school district or other districts requiring waivers due to insufficient available school days. There is no higher priority than the safety of our students, and I commend New Yorkers for their vigilance during this severe weather.”

His offer is creating more confusion than help.

Superintendents are waiting for clarification on what this means for their districts. 

State Education Law reads:

  • “Up to five days may be forgiven by the Commissioner, but only if the district has fully exhausted its remaining vacation days.”
  • “By law, emergency declarations by the governor or municipal executives do not alone forgive districts for not holding session on those days.”

Now having used six snow days, one more than allotted, Central Square Supertindent Tom Colabufo is waiting to find out what this offer from the governor means.

He says the governor’s offer is misleading. He spent the snow day at working making and fielding calls from parents and staff members.

Colabufo says, in his interpretation, the district would have to also use all of its vacation days from spring break before being allowed to use this bonus day.

Before getting excited, Colabufo warns his students and their families to wait for word from the State Education Department with more details, including if the extra day is supported by the Education Commissioner.

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