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Published: Thursday, 12/16/2010

Governor-elect Kasich weighs adding 2 calamity days

COLUMBUS -- Ohio school districts could go back to having five calamity days, instead of the three allotted this school year, if Gov.-elect John Kasich has his way.

But reverting to the old calendar would undo outgoing Gov. Ted Strickland's efforts to lengthen the school year; he sought to align Ohio with schools in some other countries.

Some experts say Ohio has too few school days even with three calamity days.

"I'm very concerned about the difference we have in school days compared to other nations around the industrialized world," said William Bainbridge, a University of Dayton researcher.

Ohio students are scheduled for 180 days in class. Students in Japan, for example, attend school 223 days a year.

Details have not been settled about how and when a move would be made to restore calamity days, including whether the goal is to add the days for the current school year or for the future, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said Wednesday.

Lawmakers would have to approve the change. Mr. Kasich said that he will move to restore the calamity days after he takes office on Jan. 10, in response to concerns about schools already having to use snow days with a long winter ahead.

He acknowledged that his daughter and the 10-year-old daughter of his chief of staff spoke to him at length about the subject.

Several school districts have used two calamity days after the snowstorm this week. Schools have three days for bad weather and other emergencies as part of a compromise reached with state lawmakers after Mr. Strickland proposed lengthening the school year from 180 to 200 days.

To read the rest of this story, visit www.dispatch.com

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