COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio bill to give schools two more calamity days is snowballing into controversy. The Ohio House rejected the bill after the Ohio Senate approved it, but with some amendments. It is the amendment that some lawmakers oppose. Ohio Governor John Kasich just wants it to pass so that he can sign it into law.
While in office, former Governor Ted Strickland reduced the number of calamity days schools could use from five days to three. With the harsh winter, districts quickly used up those days and are required by law to make up the remaining days.
It was actually Governor Kasich's daughter who first suggested a change to the three day law. She asked her father to see what he could do to give schools back those two days. Soon after the new governor took office, lawmakers introduced legislation to bump the number of calamity days back to five.
The Ohio Senate passed it, but with some amendments. One amendment includes a requirement for districts to provide transportation to charter school students on make-up days. It is that amendment that some representatives oppose, so the House rejected the bill. It will now go to a legislative committee conference for further discussion.
Many school districts already adjusted their school calendar for the rest of this year to make up those days in which students missed because of weather. Some districts are using in-service days, spring break or the end of the school year to add the days that are required by law. If the bill is approved by the legislation and signed into law, then school districts can again make adjustments in the calendar to take out those two days they were going to make up.