Lawmakers work out snow days compromise for schools

by MARC KOVAC | RPC CAPITAL BUREAU CHIEF Published:

Columbus — A conference committee has given its approval for a plan that would allow four extra snow days for schools, provided they make up four already-planned contingency days first.
The negotiated version caps weeks of disagreement between Republicans in the Ohio House and Senate to accommodate districts that have had to close their doors due to extended wintery weather this year.
Many have already used five calamity days allowed in state law, plus four or more others.
The final version of the bill, subject to approval by the House and Senate, would provide four additional calamity days to districts that have already made up four contingency days, based on plans they submitted prior to the start of the school year.
The latter could mean scheduling makeup days on holidays or Saturdays, sending “blizzard bags” home with students so they can complete lessons outside of school or adding time onto planned school days.
Schools would be allowed to make up days by adding half-hour increments to scheduled sessions, and seniors would be excused from extra days planned after graduation ceremonies.
Lawmakers removed language requiring additional in-service training days for teachers.
The Ohio House and Senate were expected to take up the negotiated version of the legislation March 12, and an emergency clause included by the House means its provisions would take effect as soon as Gov. John Kasich adds his signature.

Kovac is the Dix capital bureau chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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