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Gov. Kasich Calls for More School Calamity Days in 2014

COLUMBUS (Ken Hines/Kate Liebers) -- Governor John Kasich wants lawmakers to extend the maximum number of calamity days for Ohio's students and teachers after snowfall and frigid temperatures once again forced the closures of many of the state's schools.

In a statement released to the media on Monday morning, Kasich (R) requested that state lawmakers and Ohio Department of Education workers join forces to craft legislation to provide a one-time increase in the maximum number of school days that can be lost due to calamities such as severe weather.

State law currently permits five calamity days per academic year for Ohio schools. That number was raised from three at Kasich's urging in 2011 due to dangerous conditions caused by snow, ice, and low temperatures.

The governor hopes the state legislature will provide similar relief this year in order to avoid the addition of school days in June in affected districts.

"School closures can, of course, be an inconvenience but student safety always comes first," Kasich said. "Many schools have already hit the maximum number of snow days, or will soon, and if they exceed it and have to extend the school year it can wreak havoc with schools budgets and schedules."

Some districts have explored online learning opportunities, such as "blizzard bags."

"That means if we would have to cancel additional days of school, that we would provide some online coursework for our kids," said Paul Imhoff, Upper Arlington City School District's superintendent.

Districts may use three "blizzard bag" days after using up their five calamity days. The alternative -- tacking on additional school days onto the school year -- would cost taxpayers money and interfere with families' summer schedules, Imhoff said.

The proposed increased advocated by Kasich would be in effect only during the current school year.
 
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