By MAX FILBY
Area school districts are deciding how to make up days missed during a winter that closed some schools for three weeks.
Findlay City Schools will make up two missed days by extending the school day by one hour for 11 straight days.
The school board on Tuesday approved a makeup day calendar that will extend school hours from April 8 through April 23. There is no school on Good Friday, April 18.
Ohio school districts are normally allotted five “calamity days” each school year when they can cancel school, usually because of bad weather. Findlay schools had nine missed days this winter, meaning it has to make up four days. The district made up one of its missed days on Feb. 17 and will make up another on May 30, according to the approved schedule.
To make up a missed day, the state requires students to attend school for five and a half hours. So, the district will make up the other two days through the 11 one-hour extensions.
“This is a good solution to a difficult situation,” said Dean Wittwer, superintendent.
Wittwer has said that spending classroom time with students before state testing starts later this month is better than just tacking makeup days on the end of the school year.
Gov. John Kasich has approved legislation giving school districts four more snow days, if they canceled classes more than nine times and made up four of the nine missed days.
The legislation also allows districts to make up days in half-hour increments.
With a record 17 snow days, staff and students at McComb Local Schools are taking advantage of the legislation.
“I’m elated about it,” said Meri Skilliter, McComb superintendent. “I feel a lot better about calling off now.”
McComb students already made up one day on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, another on Presidents Day, two more on teacher in-service days, and three via online makeup days and “blizzard bags,” Skilliter said.
The online lesson and blizzard bag program requires students to complete work at home on a snow day.
After making up seven days, the district will only have to make up one more, on June 2, because of the four additional snow days given to districts.
“I’m really happy that our district has been so proactive,” Skilliter said.
McComb officials are planning to look into adjusting next year’s calamity day schedule in case of another harsh winter.
Van Buren Schools had the online and blizzard bag program in place this school year. Three days were made up through the program.
“I’m glad we had the foresight to have that in place already,” Superintendent Tim Myers said.
Van Buren had 13 snow days this school year and will make up its last remaining day on May 30, Myers said.
Fostoria City, Riverdale and Liberty-Benton districts decided to cut into spring break to make up days. Fostoria and Riverdale are making up three days during spring break while Liberty-Benton is making up two.
Getting in the class time students need before state testing begins is the ultimate factor in deciding how to make up days, said Jim Kanable, Liberty-Benton superintendent.
“Our goal was to get as much time with the children before testing as possible,” Kanable said. “We continue to try and deliver the best education possible.”
While Wittwer has a similar philosophy about getting ready for testing, he disagrees with Kanable and other area districts about making up days during spring break.
“Traditionally for Findlay, you don’t touch spring break,” Wittwer said. “A lot of people are just gone.”
These were the final calamity day totals for area schools:
Van Buren: 13 days