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Districts planning calamity day makeups

3/20/2014 - South 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.

The current version of House Bill 416 would keep the current calamity days guidelines in that districts are “forgiven” for their first five days. Districts must then make up days six through nine that are used.

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

With this year’s extreme winter weather, districts quickly exceeded their 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 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 set-aside days to make up four days before receiving an additional four 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 makeup days that fall after graduation. In addition, the conference 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.

Here’s an update on what local districts are doing to address the days they need to make up:

  • Coventry Local Schools Superintendent Russell Chaboudy said the district used nine calamity days this year. The district’s board of education had already approved making up three days with the use of blizzard bags. As three is the maximum allowed by the state, the district needs to decide how to make up the additional day, Chaboudy said, noting the decision would be made at an April 1 special meeting. He said it’s likely the district will add the day on at the end of the school year.
  • In the Green Local Schools, director of communications Julie McMahon said the district has used a total of nine days. One has been made up through the use of blizzard bags. She added that district officials were meeting this week to consider how to make up the remaining three days.
  • In Norton City Schools, which used eight calamity days, Superintendent David Dunn said this week he is proposing the district use blizzard bags to make up the three days. He said the district’s school board and teachers’ union would have to approve the plan, which he expects will happen.
  • Manchester Local Schools have used eight calamity days, according to Superintendent Sam Reynolds. He said the district had an extra day of instruction not required by the state, so it will have to make up two calamity days. At this point, the district plans to use its contingency days at the end of the school year to make those up, Reynolds said.
  • Springfield Local Schools Superintendent William Stauffer said at the March 18 meeting the district used seven days. Officials there have opted to schedule classes June 9 and 10, which were already set aside as make-up days.
  • According to Akron Public Schools officials, the district used eight calamity days due to weather this year, and the Bridges program had an additional day off. Students will attend school through June 10 (June 11 for Bridges students).
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