Due to the unusually severe winter weather this year, Gov. John Kasich urged the Ohio General Assembly and Ohio Department of Education on Monday to work together on legislation providing a one-time increase in the number of days that schools can take off because of snow or bad weather.
Kasich said a one-time increase of “just a few days” is needed since so many Ohio schools, including Washington City Schools and Miami Trace Local Schools, have used or are close to using their five allowable “calamity” days.
“School closures can, of course, be an inconvenience but student safety always comes first,” said Kasich. “Many schools have already hit the maximum number of snow days, or will soon, and if they exceed it and have to extend the school year it can wreak havoc with schools’ budgets and schedules. Giving schools a few extra snow days this year will be helpful and let everyone stay focused on the top priority when weather hits, keeping kids safe.”
With both Miami Trace and Washington C.H. schools cancelled for Tuesday, Miami Trace has now cancelled school a total of eight days for weather and Washington has cancelled school a total of seven days.
“We made up one of those days by going to school on Martin Luther King Day,” said Miami Trace Superintendent David Lewis. “We are scheduled to make up another day on Feb. 17, which is Presidents’ Day.”
March 21 is a scheduled off-day for Miami Trace students but since school was cancelled Tuesday, school will be in session on Friday, March 21.
“The nice thing about our calendar is that all of our contingency days are built in,” said Lewis. “If the State is going to give the schools additional days, we’d like to know how many and when.”
The makeup days for Washington City Schools are scheduled for June 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10. Since the district is now two days over its allotted five calamity days, students are scheduled to go to school on June 4 and 5.
“I’m hopeful that we receive some additional days,” said Washington Superintendent Keith Brown. “This has been a brutal winter….we haven’t had a winter like this in six or seven years.”
In the 2011-12 school year, Washington City Schools had no days off due to weather and in the 2012-13 school year, they had only two days out of school, according to Brown.
Ohio law allows schools five calamity days a year before they must start adding days to the school year. Kasich enacted legislation in 2011 increasing the number of calamity days from three to five. This proposed increase would be for the current school year only.