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‘Snow days’ make-up extending school year

LAKE AREA – There’s a big difference in how many days lake area school districts will have to make up in June. This winter’s brutal weather forced districts to close or impose delays far more than usual, resulting in some local teachers and students finding their school year extended into the summer.

“Our contingency plan, board adopted, is to make up our calamity days at the end of the regular school year,” said Lakewood Director of Pupil Services Arnie Ettenhofer. “We missed nine days and will be required to make up four at this time.”

Northern Local School District Treasurer Liz Arnold said her district has missed 18 days. “We’ve already made up two days,” she said, adding that 15 are already creatively accounted for because the state originally granted five calamity days to all Ohio districts, Northern Local will use three “blizzard bag” days (schools are closed but students complete assignments at home), and the state legislature granted all Ohio districts four more calamity days but only after they’ve held school on four other scheduled days off.

She said Northern Local made up two days in February, and the one day students went to school on a parent/conferences day counted for two calamity days to reach the total of 15 fulfilled. “So, therefore we have three to make up and they are going to be added at the end of the year,” said Arnold. “Our students’ last day is May 29, teachers work the 30th. The only change to the schedule is we did move graduation to June 1.”

Liberty Union- Thurston Schools didn’t miss nearly as many days. Superintendent Paul Mathews said his district’s students missed six days and will make up one calamity day Monday, March 31 (spring break). “Shouldn’t present a problem here,” he said.

Walnut Township Schools Superintendent Randy Cotner said his district has no calamity days to make up this year. As of Wednesday, the district missed a total of eight days, but used three blizzard bag days. Since the state already allowed five calamity days to begin with, Walnut Township students won’t lose any vacation days this summer.

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