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Four extra days off for schools

Alissa Widman Neese • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:41 PM

The light snowfall dusting the region early Wednesday was a fitting backdrop for what was arguably Ohio’s most anticipated news in education this year.

After a two-week window of opportunity, Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 416, a one-time law granting all Ohio schools four extra calamity days this school year.

The state allots districts five calamity days each school year, which allows them to cancel classes without consequences when there’s inclement weather or other emergencies.

They’re now in short supply, given this year’s brutal weather.

Locally, most districts have canceled classes at least a dozen times this winter.

“The entire winter has been extremely difficult on our district as well as surrounding districts, and I’m pleased that we have some finality to our state process,” Sandusky Schools superintendent Eugene Sanders said.

To use House Bill 416’s four extra days, however, districts must first host the equivalent of four makeup days of classes.

Simply put: Only districts with more than nine cancellations will reap the benefits.

In addition to traditional class days, the bill also allows schools to make up missed time through daily 30-minute increments, online instruction or work-at-home “blizzard bags”

Furthermore, it exempts high school seniors from attending makeup days after their originally scheduled graduation date, to avoid scheduling conflicts.

“The most prudent portion of the legislation is the section that exempts seniors from having to make up days,” Benton-Carroll-Salem Schools superintendent Guy Parmigian said.

Area districts are now retooling their calendars based on the new legislation, with most using online options or simply tacking on additional class days to the end of the school year.

The Register plans to publish a diagram listing the updated schedules next week, as more information becomes available.

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