Updated Thu, Mar 13, 2014 6:45 pm
Athens County school districts will likely very soon make their final decisions regarding make-up days, after a harsh winter has forced closures in the double-digits. Sub-zero temperatures, snow, and hazardous road conditions meant that area school districts have all exhausted their five allowable calamity days.
Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign a calamity day bill which was approved by both the Ohio House and Senate earlier this week. Since the discussion began in January, Kasich has consistently been a proponent of allowing districts to take four extra days this school year, according to the Associated Press.
The final bill is a compromised version of the original HB 416 and SB 229; it still contains language that allows four extra days that do not have to be made up. The bill does not include a provision for professional development days as included in the Senate version; it does include wording that allows schools to add 30 minutes to each school day as a make-up measure.
Schools will be required to use four of their contingency days and add the 30 minutes to as many days as possible before any of the extra calamity days may be used.
Nelsonville York City School district has decided to use all spring break days, according to Supt. Mick McClelland. He said that the district missed 16 days, has made up one day already, and as of right now, the board will have to add one day to the end of the school year.
Carl Martin, superintendent of Athens City School District, said the district has missed 16 days in total.
"Five of these are forgiven," Martin noted in an email Thursday, "Which leaves 11 days to make up."
The district has made up two of those by having students attend a previously scheduled inservice day and Presidents' Day. This leaves nine days and Martin said the district is "in the process of looking at the options provided by the legislature."
Martin said that he and the board intend to put together a make up schedule before the March 20 regular board meeting.
Trimble Local Schools Supt. Kim Jones commented that once her district has been given a final answer, she and the board will consider their options, and Jeff Cullum, superintendent of Alexander, too, is awaiting bill finalization from the governor's desk.
Jones said that Trimble's calendar states that make-up days left after other options have been used will be added to the end of the school year, but the board has discussed the possibility of using spring break if necessary next year.
George Wood, superintendent of Federal Hocking Local Schools, could not be reached for comment before The Messenger deadline.
Athens school districts have all canceled at least 12 school days this academic year.