COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- With many Ohio schools at or over their five calamity days, Gov. John Kasich is urging lawmakers and the Ohio Dept. of Education to add more.

Current Ohio law allows schools to call off classes up to five days a year. Anything over that must be made up either during spring break or at the end of the year. This winter has been hard on schools with frequent snowfall and arctic temperatures forcing them to close several times already.

“School closures can, of course, be an inconvenience but student safety always comes first. Many schools have already hit the maximum number of snow days, or will soon, and if they exceed it and have to extend the school year it can wreak havoc with schools budgets and schedules. Giving schools a few extra snow days this year will be helpful and let everyone stay focused on the top priority when weather hits, keeping kids safe,” said Kasich.

State Representatives Tony Burkley (R-Payne) and Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) have introduced legislation to give schools an additional four calamity days for the 2013-2014 school year.

“Approximately a third of the state’s school districts have already used five or more calamity days, and the winter is far from over. One of my districts is approaching ten calamity days,” Burkley said.

“The recent cold, snow and ice have put Ohio schools at a necessary stand-still in order to keep our kids safe,” Hill said. “I’m confident that those at the local level can be trusted to adapt to the change in calamity days and ensure that students are taught the needed curriculum they will need to succeed before the end of the school year.”

Next year, schools will switch from a mandate to hold class on a minimum number of days to a minimum number of hours. That should allow for some added flexibility.

Nearly a third of the state's schools have also taken advantage of what are known as "blizzard bags." They are assignments sent home in advance or available online for students to complete during days when classes are canceled. If a certain percentage of students turn in the assignments, the district doesn't have to make up the day. There's a limit of three days with that program.

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