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Ohio legislators OK extra calamity days

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Feb 20, 2014 at 10:38 PM

The Ohio House of Representatives this afternoon voted to increase the number of school district calamity days from five to nine for students but seven for teachers.

The harsh winter has caused all area districts to exhaust their regular number of calamity days.

Gov. John Kasich proposed adding the extra calamity days for this year only. Last week, state representatives postponed voting on the measure because some were concerned about students being cheated out of education and teachers being paid for extra days they didn't work. Under the measure approved today, teachers would be required to make up the two additional days in professional development.

The measure now goes to the state Senate. If the Senate approves it, the measure would go to Kasich's desk for final approval.

Starting next year, schools will count instruction time in hours instead of days, eliminating the need for calamity days.

As of today, 338 of the 614 school districts in Ohio have submitted plans for so-called blizzard bags, according to the State Department of Education. Districts can use up to three blizzard bag days after exhausting their five calamity days.

Norwalk has cancelled classes 10 days this school year due to weather-related issues. However, if this measure gets final approval, then students won't have to make up any more days. That's because the blizzard bag provision was used for two of those calamity days, and students went to school on Monday this week as a make-up day instead of celebrating the Presidents Day holiday.

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