House Bill 36 was officially signed and passed into law by Ohio Governor John Kasich Wednesday. The bill will restore the number of calamity days, commonly called snow days, in Ohio public schools from a maximum of three to a maximum of five.
The bill was passed by the Senate on April 6 and delivered to the Governor a day later, according to Mercy Sutyak, legislative aide to Ohio State Senator Edna Brown.
According to Sutyak, the maximum number of calamity days was five until 2008 when former Governor Ted Strickland decided to reduce the number to three. However, Ohio Republican Representatives Casey Kozlowski and John Carey decided to sponsor this bill after their districts had particularly harsh winters, leading the school systems to surpass their limit on snow days.
“Senator Brown voted for the bill because she understands that some of Ohio’s regions may experience weather that makes it very difficult to transport students to school and provisions have been put in place to allow school districts to make up the missed instruction time by various means,” Sutyak said
According to Talawanda Local School District Superintendent Phil Cagwin, Talawanda had used seven calamity days this year. Prior to the passage of the bill, Talawanda would be making up four days in June after school was supposed to be on summer break.
However, according to Cagwin, Kasich signed the bill as an emergency bill which means it will go into effect right away, taking away two of Talawanda’s summer make-up days.
The bill also allows the district to accumulate partial days, taking away one more make-up day from Talawanda.
Talawanda will be in school only one extra day this year, June 6.
“I am happy about this bill,” Cagwin said. “The days that are made up in June are difficult to keep kids focused and learning at their highest potential. It helps financially too.”
Fairfield City Schools board member and Miami University political science professor, Mark Morris, is neutral about the decision but pleased that the bill has finally been decided on.
“We can now organize our calendars for next year and notify the parents in the school district,” Morris said. “I am glad we will not be having to make up as many days in the summer.”
Miami sophomore Julia Byers supports the passing of the bill.
“I think that Northern Ohio school districts should go back to 5 calamity days per year,” Byers said. “It is extremely hard to predict how bad an upcoming winter will be. In my opinion it is easier to schedule in the five extra days versus only scheduling three and having to pay teachers and keep students well into the summer to make-up for the snow days.”