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Districts planning calamity day makeups

3/20/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

GREATER AKRON — With the Ohio General Assembly expected to pass legislation soon on calamity days, local districts are forging ahead with plans to make up days required by the state.

According to Akron Public Schools officials, the current version of House Bill 416 does not affect the district. It would keep the current guidelines in that districts are “forgiven” for their first five days. Districts must then make up days six through nine that are used. APS used eight calamity days due to weather this year, and the Bridges program had an additional day off.

The legislation proposed would forgive calamity days 10 through 13, as long as days six through nine are made up, according to APS officials.

Because of the need to make up days, district officials said APS students will attend school through June 10 (June 11 for Bridges students). The last day of school had been scheduled for June 5. District officials noted any additional calamity days used this year will further extend the schedule.

With this year’s extreme cold temperatures and snowy conditions, districts throughout the state have found they exceeded their allotted five calamity days. Normally districts have days set aside to make up additional days, sometimes using days at the end of the year, scheduled breaks or even Saturdays.

Once districts began exceeding their five days, Gov. John Kasich asked the Ohio General Assembly to work to grant districts an additional four calamity days for this year.

The original bill proposed allowing districts to have the four days, but the Senate version stated districts must first use their set-aside days to make up four days before receiving four additional calamity days.

A conference committee then addressed the proposed legislation to work out a compromise. The committee proposed keeping the Senate provision that graduating seniors do not need to make up scheduled school make-up days after graduation. In addition, the committee version allows the Ohio Department of Education to continue to accept applications from districts wishing to use “blizzard bags,” or online assignments, as make-up options.

In other districts, plans so far are as follows:

  • Revere Local Schools Superintendent Randy Boroff said the district has one day to make up and will add it to the end of the year, on June 5.
  • Woodridge Local Schools have missed eight days, although the high school missed 10 this year because of two separate gas leaks. During the March 18 school board meeting, it was decided the district would now use the previously scheduled in-service day April 21 as the first makeup day. The district will make up the additional two days (three for the high school) with blizzard bag assignments. Under the state legislation expected to pass, the high school will not have to make up the 10th day, according to district officials.
  • In the Copley-Fairlawn City Schools District, which used a total of eight days this year, Superintendent Brian Poe proposed the district use blizzard bags to make up the three days. The district’s Board of Education approved that plan at the March 18 meeting. Lessons will be due April 22.
  • The Highland Local Schools Board of Education voted during the March 17 meeting to extend the school year, as previously planned, to make up its four required days. The district will hold classes May 30 and June 2-4.
  • In Norton City Schools, which used eight calamity days, Superintendent David Dunn said he proposed using blizzard bags to make up three days. He said the school board and teachers’ union would have to approve the plan, which he expects will happen.
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