Program to encourage year-round schools clears state House

School desksLawmakers in the state House have approved a $2 million pilot program to encourage schools to go year-round.

Schools in mostly low-income areas could get money from the state to add air-conditioning and other things allowing them to operate in the summer. The measure was introduced by Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, and Gov. Rick Snyder called on lawmaker to pass it in his budget address last month.

Supporters say students lose too much of what they learn after long summer breaks.

But state Representative Ed McBroom says the state shouldn’t push education policy by dangling money in front of cash-strapped school districts.

“They’ll start making the decision to say let’s do year-round school because there’s money available,” said McBroom, “rather than let’s do year-round school because it’s the best thing for the kids, or it’s the best thing for our community.”

Students would still have to go to school the same number of days every year – they would just be more spread out.

Lawmakers added the measure to a mid-year budget bill for K-12 schools on Wednesday. It now goes to the state Senate.