COLUMBUS (AP) — A compromise to give Ohio schools four extra calamity days headed to Gov. John Kasich’s desk Wednesday, as more snow whipped and whirled around the Statehouse.
The conditions outside were not lost on state lawmakers as they prepared to vote.
“Mr. Speaker, it’s snowing outside. We need to pass this immediately,” said Rep. Gerald Stebelton, a Lancaster Republican.
Lawmakers came to an agreement on Tuesday after encountering an impasse last month over two competing versions of the bill.
Schools have been waiting for relief. Snow, ice and harsh temperatures have led many districts across Ohio to exhaust the school year’s five allowable calamity days — most commonly called “snow days,” in which schools can close without making up the lost instructional time.
Many public school districts across Ohio have canceled classes for nine or more days this year, the bill’s sponsors said. Some Guernsey County schools in the eastern part of the state have topped 17 such days.
The measure would let districts use the additional calamity days only after holding class on four other scheduled days off, such as holidays or school breaks.
Districts could continue to make up missed days through 30-minute increments tacked onto regularly scheduled school days. They also would have the option of using work-at-home “blizzard bags” and online lessons.
Under the compromise bill, districts could excuse graduating seniors for any makeup days that occur after commencement ceremonies.
The bill contains an emergency clause. It would take effect as soon as Kasich signs it, which he is expected to do.