Legislature Holds Off On Extending School Calamity Days, Ponders Different Approaches

Ohio Education Updates
February, 2014

Yesterday evening, the Ohio House tabled a vote to extend allowable missed school days this year because of concerns among Republicans over cost and academic impacts of more calamity days. Democrats objected to delaying the vote on the measure (HB 416 ), which was informally passed 57-34 and therefore is pending further action on the House floor. The bill would increase the number of snow days from five  (5) to nine (9).

Rep. Gerald Stebelton   (R-Lancaster) who chairs the House Education Committee  that heard the bill, said some Republican members are concerned about the added cost to school districts to hold make-up days or tack on extra hours because some collective bargaining agreements restrict what hours teachers may work and could result in extra pay for the make-up time. “Some people don’t want to grant the calamity days because we’re spending another several hundred millions of dollars of the public funds and we’re getting nothing in return for it,” he said in an interview. “They want to figure out a way to require the districts to make up those extra days, but with collective bargaining agreements it’s not easy to do that because you have different provisions in different areas.”

He said the House would take up the bill next week and consider an amendment. The House action came about an hour after Senate President Keith Faber  (R-Celina) told reporters that lawmakers were hesitant to merely pass a blanket nine-day exemption given the academic impacts and were continuing to work with local officials on the best approach. “The foundation of what we’re going to do is still undecided,” Sen. Fabersaid. “We know that every district has five (calamity) days in the current law, plus every district was required to put five days in their plan as make-ups. I would certainly encourage or think that the districts ought to start utilizing those make-up days before we go with a blanket forgiveness.” Sen. Faber  said he also favors allowing schools to make up missed days in half-hour increments added to the end of regular school days. The House bill would allow for such an approach.

He said, however, the Senate might prefer an approach that maintains the current five allowed calamity days and then asks schools to make up the next five missed days before providing additional relief. The upper chamber’s proposal might excuse some days missed beyond 10. “We’re asking them to utilize their policy for 10 days, then four days after that giving them some flexibility, so the school board doesn’t just have to forgive four days and go home. They can use half-hours and have some flexibility on that process,” he said. “I think it’s important that local boards of education be empowered with the flexibility to make those decisions based on what’s in those districts’ best interests.” Sen. Faber said he supports Sen. Randy Gardner’s  to exempt graduating seniors from make-up days, and that it would likely
be included in a single-bill approach to the broader calamity days issue.

In the Senate Education Committee had planned on reviewing provisions of a House-passed calamity day bill, but the decision to delay the vote scuttled that plan. “We’re not sure where that leaves us time-wise,” she said. “This is important legislation for the schools so they know what they have to plan for. No one likes to give more calamity days because every day a child is not in a classroom is a day that they are denied learning opportunities,” Sen. Lehner  said. “But this is such an exceptional winter.”

Sen. Gardner) allows graduating seniors to skip any make-up days that might be held after their scheduled graduation days. The measure – which he said could be added to a consensus calamity day proposal – should send a common-sense message to parents and districts that they can continue to plan for graduation events. The sponsor said school superintendents have begun asking about the impact of make-up days on graduating seniors. “They just wanted some assurance,” he said.




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Mud Hens


The TAWLS Activities Committee invites you to  join us at the Toledo Mud Hens game on  Saturday, May 10th , 2014!

The celebration begins in the Roost at 5:30pm with hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, cookies, pasta salad, mac &cheese, watermelon and more! GIFT CARD RAFFLES during the 7th inning stretch and this year ALL KIDS UNDER 12 EAT FREE!

Checks can be made payable to TAWLS and please return ticket orders to Katie Peters @ Whitmer High School by 3/28.Tickets will be delivered to you the week of May 5th.

Click here to see the event flyer!  Mud Hens Flyer 2014_2

The Washington Local School District has been ranked the region’s #1 Top Workplace



The Washington Local School District has been ranked the region’s #1 Top Workplace and Superintendent Hickey was named the #1 Leader. The results are based solely on feedback from an employee survey that was conducted by Worklplace Dynamics, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement. WorkplaceDynamics conducts regional Top Workplaces programs with 40 major publishing partners across the United States and locally with The Blade.  View The Blade Tabloid Here!

Hickey_Hodnicki_Perry cutout

 Pictured: Christopher Hodnicki, Patrick Hickey & Cindy Perry!