Making up snow days could be changing for schools

It's something that's effected students, parents and educators: the nasty winter weather. Schools have closed many days, and it won't be long before it's time to start making up for lost class time.

News 11's Dick Berry reports there are calls for changes in Ohio's calamity days policy.

It's been a crazy winter for area school districts. Blowing and drifting snow forced many to close for the day or send students home early -- the case last Friday in the Mohawk District.

Many districts are way over the state-allotted five calamity days, and will now be forced to make up time at the end of the school year. Findlay City Schools Superintendent Dean Wittwer tells News 11, "Our students aren't getting enough time in school based on this calamity issue." So he wants the state legislature to step in.

His worry: Ohio law mandates 180 school days while many are only in session 175 days because of bad weather.  Wittwer explains, "I think it's important that we have some flexibility in local areas to maybe schedule more than 180 days. You could stop school at that point."

We caught up with Ohio Superintendent of Public Education Susan Zelman while she toured the Millstream Career and Technology Center in Findlay. She says the issue is not about calamity days. "The issue is how do we extend the school year and the school day so that our kids will be competitive with other countries who have longer school days and longer school years."

Zelman is calling for districts to have more flexibility. "Well, for example, rather than have calamity days... have calamity hours, so the superintendent can perhaps extend the school day."

Until changes are made, the only alternative superintendents now have is to extend the school year.

On March 24, a new law goes into effect. It allows districts missing more than ten calamity days to add time at the end of the school day in half hour increments. The tricky part: it doesn't apply to days six to ten.

Posted by LS