Calamity day debate rages on in Ohio

CLAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Some Ohio school districts missed double digit days due to the harsh winter weather, but debate rages about whether to extend calamity days this year.

A proposed bill is now before the Ohio Senate which would add up to four calamity days on top of the five days already allowed by the state.

Districts would also have the ability to add a half hour to school days as well as expand the upcoming period for the completion of scheduled achievement tests by one week.

Rep. Mike Henne (R-Clayton) tells 2 NEWS the bottom line is that kids learn more in the classroom.

“It has to make some difference or why are we sending kids to school?  It may be a small difference, but when we see that our kids are performing sub par, I think every hour they spend in front of the teacher is important,” explains Rep. Henne.

Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) says not making up all the missed days means wasting $460 million in state and federal money spent on education.

We called the Ohio Department of Education to check that number.

A spokesperson says he does not know where Rep. Wachtmann came up with that figure and that the state has not done any analysis on how much these calamity days would cost taxpayers.

Rep. Henne says he believes districts are going to be required to make up those five calamity days before they are allowed to have any additional days.

“I would like to see them go beyond and think of the children first and add extra time onto the day, maybe some Saturday instruction.  Maybe, I know this is drastic, but make them go to school during spring break,” comments Rep. Henne.

The state senate could vote on that proposal as early as Wednesday.

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