LAKE AREA – Buckeye Lake area school districts are working on the principle that just because they can do something, doesn’t mean they should, or will.
Last year, the state legislature changed the calculation for calamity days – typically called “snow days.” Previously, state law allowed five calamity days per school year. Now they are based upon the number of hours of classroom instruction each district provides students beyond the state minimum. In some cases, Ohio districts are allowed up to 30 days under the new rule. But, lake area schools will still make up calamity days later in the year to ensure academic integrity.
“We’ve been out 16 days,” said Northern Local Schools Interim Superintendent Angela Gussler Wednesday. “I think we’re the winner (in the lake area), or the loser, depending upon how you look at it.” She said the district is using “blizzard bag” days-whereby students complete assignments at home during calamity days-to help make up the time off, but Gussler said the district, assuming no more calamity days are used this year, will make up six days at the end of the school year.
Gussler said the way the state currently calculates calamity days, Northern Local could take several more days off this year without being required to make them up, but that’s not what’s going to happen. “We’re here to instruct,” she said. “We’re not willing to give up that much instruction time. We know how many hours are needed and we’re going to stay as close to the schedule as possible.”
Lakewood Schools have missed eight days this year as of Wednesday. “We have decided that on the ninth day forward, we would make up instructional time,” said Lakewood Superintendent Mary Kay Andrews. “Our calendar currently has the make up days at the end of the year.”
“As of (Tuesday), we’ve missed nine days and had three days of two-hour delayed starts,” said Walnut Township Schools Superintendent Randy Cotner. “We have three to four days left before having to do makeup days. That could be extended by the use of three blizzard bag days.”
Liberty Union- Thurston Schools have missed seven days this school year as of Wednesday. “Our current plan calls for these days to be made up on April 2 and April 6,” said Superintendent Todd Osborn.