If state Rep. William Tuell, R-East Machias, has his way, Maine’s public school students will stay at school an hour later for 50 of the remaining school days this year, in order to make up for the 10-plus snow days so far accumulated by many school districts across the state.

But by the time that L.D. 129 is considered (and then, perhaps, passed), based on my round calculations, there will likely be only 60 or so school days remaining. So, if all goes according to Tuell’s plan, parents, teachers, employers and care providers will have 10 days or less to learn whether or not their district is implementing this or another option to make up for lost time – and, thus, 10 days to rearrange school pickups and afternoon schedules, including work and child care.

At a public hearing last month before the Legislature’s Education Committee, Rep. Tuell said: “This winter is an excellent argument for putting this proposal into place. One of the communities I represent, Eastport, has seen upward of 150 inches of snow since Jan. 24.”

And, sure, I agree with Rep. Tuell. There has been a lot of snow in Eastport this winter, and everywhere across the state. In fact, a record-breaking amount. And, yes, we do need a solution for our children who already suffer with increased testing requirements and, thus, barely eke out enough instruction time over the course of a year in buildings that are often exceedingly hard to heat and cool in extreme temperatures. Kudos to him for bringing a solution to the table.

But seriously. How are we even in this situation to begin with? Yes, it has been a rugged winter, even for a native Mainer like myself. But, ladies and gentlemen, it snows here. A lot.

Even if 2015 had been characterized by more modest storms (rather than the multi-foot whoppers like we have had this winter), surely we would still be dealing with snow days. In our increasingly risk-averse society, superintendents are understandably calling off school more often than they used to, even after just a dusting.

Irrespective of Rep. Tuell’s proposal, state law already allows schools to make up snow days by hosting Saturday classes, adding days to the end of the school year or canceling April vacation. Adoption of any of those tactics would undoubtedly be controversial. As would picking students up from school at 4 p.m. and trying to fit in dinner, homework and a shower – and forget about sports practice.

So let’s get our act together. Let us all assume that it will snow next winter, too. Individual communities need to start planning now. As part of that process, we should all thoughtfully consider what our facilities, bus routes, proximity to rural or urban municipal centers and other factors mean for us.

Lord knows the Legislature has bigger fish to fry anyway (for instance, the budget). We can learn a lot from the Portland Public Schools, often considered an urban, dysfunctional model, but one that actually has a lot going for it, including the foresight to build 180 days into the school calendar rather than the bare minimum of the state-mandated 175. Maine’s largest school district has had six snow days so far this year but will have to make up only one day to achieve the mandatory minimum.

Kelsey Goldsmith, co-founder and president of the public relations and public affairs firm Lovell & Paris, LLC, and a former staffer for former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, lives in Yarmouth with her husband and daughter. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @KelseyElsey