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General Assembly sends calamity days bill to the governor

 
General Assembly sends calamity days bill to the governor
Posted March 12th, 2014 @ 3:04pm by WTVN Newsroom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- A compromise to give Ohio schools four extra calamity days is headed to Gov. John Kasich's desk for his expected signature.

"Mr. Speaker, it's snowing outside. We need to pass this immediately," said Rep. Gerald Stebelton, a Republican from Lancaster.

Snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures have led many districts across Ohio to use up the five calamity days already given to schools each year. Those days do not have to be made up. A survey from the Buckeye Association of School Administrators earlier this year found that the average number of days missed by Ohio schools was nine. Some districts in eastern Ohio have more than doubled that.

The additional calamity days can only be used once schools have used up at least four of their five pre-scheduled make-up days. Those include holidays or spring break.

The bill also allows schools to extend class time by 30-minute increments. Some districts have already started doing that. Another option for schools is "blizzard bags" which are pre-assigned lessons that can be completed at home. There is also the option of online assignments.

Teachers had been required to use two of the days as in-service days under the House version of the bill, but that was stripped out in a conference committee to mesh the House and Senate versions of the bill.

The bill now heads to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.

"He is expected to sign it soon," said Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols.

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