What is forgiven time?
Section 101(4) of the State School Aid Act provides districts with six (6) days or the equivalent number of hours of “forgiven time” that can be used when pupil instruction is canceled due to conditions outside the control of school authorities, such as severe storms, fires, health conditions, and infrastructure issues. These initial days or hours can be used at any point throughout the year without prior authorization from the Department given the cancellation falls within the acceptable reasons.
In addition, Section 101(4) provides the State Superintendent the authority to allocate up to three (3) days or the equivalent number of hours of “forgiven time” to districts to be used when instruction was not provided due to unusual and extenuating occurrences resulting from conditions not within the control of school authorities, such as those described above.
Forgiven time and professional development:
Beginning with the 2019-20 school year, if all provisions of Section 101(10) of the State School Aid Act are met, districts may count up to 38 hours of qualifying professional development toward the hours of pupil instruction. Districts may also count this qualifying professional development toward the day requirement if the professional development exceeds five hours in a single day.
In the memo dated December 7, 2023, it was communicated that changes were made to section 101(4) (MCL 388.1701) of the state School Aid Act (Public Act 103 of 2023) supplemental. These amendments now permit districts to have canceled instructional time forgiven, provided that the cancellation meets the statutory requirements for eligibility, even if districts have included eligible professional development as part of their instructional time calendar.
As best practice, MDE continues to encourage the provision and preservation of substantial instructional time that includes students.
Applications for additional forgiven time will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Requirements for requesting additional forgiven time:
The request for additional forgiven time must exhibit the need for the additional forgiven time, including a strong rationale supporting why these days cannot be rescheduled before the end of the school year. The request must also demonstrate how the district initially prepared for cancelations for the current school year, as well as indicate how they might improve upon their planning process for subsequent school years.
As always, the Department encourages districts to be proactive in planning calendars that meet and exceed the days and hours requirements so that there is ample time built in to ensure that students receive the amount of instruction required by law. Eligibility for the additional forgiven time will be based on the unusual and extenuating occurrences reported, and through a review of the district’s preparedness for cancellations.
When to request additional forgiven time:
For a district operating on a 180-day calendar, cancellations beyond the six original days of forgiven time (cancellations 7, 8, or 9) must precede a request for forgiven time. It is important to note that forgiven time cannot be preemptively granted for potential future cancellations.
If a district elects to request additional forgiven days, it is advisable to wait until they are confident that inclement weather has passed, or they are reasonably certain of avoiding further cancellations. It is preferable for districts to submit a single request application rather than multiple requests.
In the event that a district has already requested forgiven time for any of the three additional days and experiences further cancellations, they should contact Jessica to amend the original application rather than submitting another request. This helps maintain clarity in our records, enabling us to accurately track each district's status.
The request for additional forgiven time should be submitted after the cancellation has occurred and after deliberations attempting to reschedule instructional days. Requests for additional forgiven time must be submitted before the last scheduled day of instruction.
>Additional forgiven time will not be granted in advance.
>Section 101 of the State School Aid Act does not provide the Department authority to grant additional forgiven time for instances where attendance fell below the requirement. Thus, Additional Forgiven Time will not be granted for days where attendance fell below the 75% attendance requirement.