Lawmakers reach compromise on 4 extra calamity days

Full Ohio House, Senate expected to vote Wednesday


COLUMBUS — An apparent compromise reached by the Ohio House and Senate would forgive four additional school days lost to snow, ice, and sub-zero temperatures, but a school will have to have missed more than nine days before it will see the benefits.

State law has already worked five “calamity days” lost into their mandate of minimum school year. A compromise unanimously approved today by a six-member joint House-Senate conference committee would add four days to that —but only after the school has used holidays, longer school days, home assignments, or other efforts to make up four of its lost days.

“It’s a simplistic, flexible, and one-time fix,” said Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), one of the committee members.

The compromise is expected to reach the full House and Senate for votes on Wednesday.

The bill drops all reference to using teacher professional development days, days when teachers would be on the job but students wouldn’t be in the classroom, to make up at least some of the lost days.

The bill allows schools to expand their school days in half-hour increments as part of their efforts to make up days.

Negotiations between the two chambers fell apart two weeks ago in part because of frustrations raised by some lawmakers that many schools had not taken advantage of President’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, and other days in their calendars to make up days. The conference committee tries to bridge that gap.

The vote came as the state is looking at another snowstorm on Wednesday that could add to the mounting days lost this winter.