Flint, MI—For the third time since school started Aug. 4, Flint Community Schools has canceled classes due to the heat as most buildings do not have central air conditioning.

“At Flint Community Schools, the safety and well-being of our staff and scholars is always a primary concern. Tomorrow, Monday, August 23, is projected to be 86 degrees. Thus, we are canceling school districtwide for the day. However, the administration building will remain open, and principals are to report to their buildings,” Superintendent Anita Steward said in an Aug. 22 letter to students and families.

Michigan law allows school districts to cancel up to six days of instruction per school year without penalty. Heat days and snow days count towards this time.

Monday’s cancelation marks Flint Schools’ last forgivable “snow day.” Due to low attendance during the first three days of school—the district did not meet the state minimum of 75% attendance—these days did not count as instruction time under Michigan law, Steward said.

If the district takes additional days, they will be required to make up the time in order to meet the minimum 1,089 instructional hours and 180 days required by the state to receive funding.

However, they may seek three more “forgiven” days with approval from the State Superintendent. These days are granted through a waiver called a “snow-day waiver.”

“The district continues to work to obtain air in all our classrooms. In the meantime, the district will continue to monitor the temperature outside to make informed decisions for the well-being of our school community,” Steward said in her letter.

During a Board of Education Aug. 18, board members asked for short-term solutions to the problem.

Administrative officials said they had been working to devise an immediate plan, but every idea had been met with “roadblocks” due to the buildings’ poor conditions.

“Every time we get one thought, we come up with a roadblock. Because whether it’s the buildings and how old they are, that’s not going to work. We get another thought and we come up with another roadblock. We have been working through this since last week nonstop and we’re going to continue to work through this,” Steward said.

Administration is working with the Michigan Department of Education to explore their options, Steward said at the Aug. 18 meeting.

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...

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