Calamity days become political football

“We all know that there are some issues that everyone has an opinion on and everyone wants to talk about: Calamity days is one of those”
Associated Press
Feb 27, 2014
State lawmakers disagreed Wednesday over how many additional calamity days to give Ohio schools off this year because of the winter’s hazardous weather, and how districts can make up the ones they have already taken.

The impasse came after the Senate passed its own plan Wednesday, different from a version passed earlier by the House.

Snow, ice and bone-chilling temperatures have led many districts across Ohio to exhaust the school year’s five allowable calamity days, in which schools can close without making up the lost instructional time.

Many districts have canceled classes for nine or more days this year. Some Guernsey County schools in eastern Ohio have topped 17 such days.

Gov. John Kasich has been among those advocating adding extra snow days on a one-time basis. He has said if schools exceed their allowable days and have to extend the year, it can “wreak havoc” with schedules and school budgets.

The House passed a bill last week to let schools receive up to four additional days off, with teachers having to report on two of those.

Senators put their own mark on the measure Wednesday.

The Senate unanimously passed a plan to let schools take up to four additional days off this year, with teachers reporting for one day for training. But first, districts would have to use four contingency days before they could get the extra days off.

Each school district adopts an annual contingency plan that includes adding at least five whole days to the school year if needed to make up any days missed beyond the excused calamity days. The bill would let districts revise their plans, which were submitted last September.

Senators changed the bill during an education committee hearing Wednesday morning. They made additional changes on the Senate floor in the afternoon to try to win House support.

“We all know that there are some issues that everyone has an opinion on and everyone wants to talk about: Calamity days is one of those,” said state Sen. Peggy Lehner, who chairs the education panel.

She said she believed the committee had struck “a good balance between the need to keep our students safe and our need to keep our children welleducated”

“But we do have some who would like to make it a little different,” she said. She then offered an amendment to “keep perhaps some more people happy”

But the House rejected the Senate amendments, sending the bill to a joint conference committee to work on an agreement.

Comments

The Big Dog's back

Repubs just want to shaft the teachers at the student's expense.

Maggdi

I hesitate to ask you to expand on your point BD, but my curiosity overwhelms me.
What are the 'Rebub's' motivations? Are you suggesting that they just simple hate teachers so much that they are seeking retribution?

The Big Dog's back

They hate unions, especially teachers unions.

I

...says the parrot!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I wonder if this would be as big a problem (because who can predict the weather via law?) if we had a year-round school calendar? In addition to more frequent breaks which could buffer/absorb days like that it provides a much more stable schooling environment with more retention of lessons.

Also, has anyone ever considered Saturday half-days to help make up for lost time? I don't expect either idea to set with 100% of everyone but it would be disingenuous if they weren't considered.

That said, one of many articles for said consideration: http://www.scholastic.com/parent...

Six-day school points: http://www.debate.org/opinions/i...

Another school board considering half-days: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/l...

Why any of this is "political" is baffling.

SanduskyMomOf3

If the state would make up their minds, the school districts could make plans for how to make up the lost time. Problem for them is, until the legislators stop bickering, school districts don't know how many days that they're going to need to make up.

phroggy

One thing is for certain, the "Blizzard Bags" are a complete joke. It's bad enough the amount of homework we're forced to help with. I'm not a teacher and my child is not home schooled. I send the kid to school to be taught by a person educated and trained for that specific job. My taxes are not being represented correctly. I demand a refund!

Stop It

If you feel forced to help your child, then you have a problem that starts at home, not school.

phroggy

I shouldn't have to help my child with SCHOOL work. It's the teachers' job, not mine.

Nor'easter

Parenting includes helping your child with school work. Raising your child is NOT the school teacher's job, IT IS YOUR responsibility!!!!!

starryeyes83

Back in '78 OUR district decided to go 2 Saturdays and cut our spring break down to make up the snow days. All us kids had input via a "show of hands". We weren't dumb we wanted to get it over with and forgot about. We didn't cry and whine about it , hell, we just did it.

Guess what , we survived and there were no extra days in June.