Ohio House of Representatives votes down calamity day bills - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Ohio House of Representatives votes down bill for extra calamity days

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(Toledo News Now) -

State lawmakers are hung up over how many extra calamity days to give Ohio schools this year after hazardous winter weather.

Snow and frigid temperatures led many districts across Ohio to exhaust their five allowable calamity days. Some canceled classes for 10 or more days.

The House rejected Senate changes to a bill Wednesday 40-56, sending it to a negotiating conference committee after the two chambers failed to reach an agreement.

The Senate unanimously passed a plan to let schools take up to four additional calamity days this year, with teachers reporting on one. But first, districts must use four contingency days.

House lawmakers passed a separate version of the bill that would let schools receive up to four additional days off, with teachers having to report on two of those.

Toledo Public School officials say despite the disagreement in Columbus concerning calamity days, they have a plan. The harsh winter has led to the closing of TPS 12 times this year, the most in recent history.

Now the question is: How are students going to make up the days?

"We for sure can move forward with Blizzard Bags. We have a team in the district that's working on that and our plan is to roll that out during spring break," explained Brian Murphy, executive transformational leader of operations at TPS.

Blizzard Bags will make up three of the extra calamity days that have been used. Still, because state lawmakers have yet to come to an agreement on how to make up the days, TPS would still have to make up four more days.

"One of the options, maybe, that we can add some time to the school day. We have also canceled four delayed-start days, that equals eight hours. And we're asking the state if that can make up time, as well," said Murphy.

Parents have an opinion on what they want to see done.

"I think they should give them the four extra days and give them some homework in between to make up for the days they don't have covered," said Sandra McLennan, a TPS parent.

Many are upset that state lawmakers have no decision.

"This is as bad as Washington D.C. not coming to a decision. I don't think it's fair to the kids that they should be playing politics like that," said McLennan. 

State Senator Randy Gardner sent this statement about the decision in Columbus:

"I am disappointed that the calamity day issue was not resolved this week so that school districts and families can plan for the rest of the school year." 

TPS officials hope state lawmakers come to a conclusion soon. If not, they do have plans to make up the extra days.

Related:

Find more calamity days stories about local school districts in our Back to School section.

Copyright 2014 Toledo News Now.  All rights reserved.

  • 19 Action News Poll

  • What do you think schools should do about Calamity days?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Extra days (Spring Break, Summer, Saturdays)
    51%
    2911 votes
    Blizzard Bags over Spring Break
    15%
    859 votes
    Nothing - Give the kids a break
    34%
    1933 votes
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