As a winter storm moved across Ohio, state lawmakers gave final approval to a compromise deal on how many calamity days school districts must make up for the 2013-14 academic year.
Existing state law allows schools to close for five calamity days but requires days beyond that to be made up. It also required districts to identify make up days in their calendar.
Under the deal approved Wednesday, schools will have to make up calamity days No. 6, 7, 8, and 9 by either adding class days or holding “blizzard bag” days that many districts have already completed. Districts that missed more than nine days would be forgiven calamity days No. 10, 11, 12 and 13.
“It’s snowing outside. We need to pass this immediately,” quipped state Rep. Gerald Stebleton, R-Lancaster, chairman of the House Education Committee.
The House voted 87-5 while the Senate voted unanimously in favor on the final version of the bill that now moves to Gov. John Kasich’s desk for signature. Once signed and filed with the Secretary of State, it’ll take immediate effect.
School officials will be granted more flexibility in how they make up the days: extending school days, holding class on days previously scheduled as off, or tacking them onto the end of the year.
The state also allows districts under a “blizzard bag” program to send work home with students or post assignments online and have that count as make up time.
Next year there will be far less debate over calamity days, no matter how bad the winter weather is. Ohio law changes to require a set number of instructional hours instead of days: 910 hours for full-day kindergarten through sixth grade and 1,001 hours for seventh through 12th grade.
By Laura A. Bischoff - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)
©2014 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
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