Snow-days bill rejected by House
By Marc Kovac
The Ohio House rejected Senate changes to legislation expanding the number of excused snow days used by school districts, sending the bill to a conference committee of the two chambers for further consideration.
The House rejection of an emergency clause in the bill was unanimous, compared with the overwhelming bipartisan support the bill received when it left the chamber early last month.
Democrats cited the potential costs of the legislation in prompting Tuesday’s vote.
As part of education reform passed under Gov. Ted Strickland, the number of days schools are allowed to close due to adverse weather without making them up at the end of the year was reduced this year to three from five. The change was put into effect for the 2010-11 school year only; absent lawmaker action, districts would return to five calamity days in 2011-12.
House Bill 36 would increase the number of snow days to five this year and would allow schools to make up calamity days by adding time to already-scheduled class days.
The Senate added language to the legislation that would allow schools to make up excess calamity days through take-home or online coursework.
Additionally, senators included a provision requiring busing for charter-school students having to make up extra school days.
Democrats opposed the changes, saying they were unfunded mandates on districts and could adversely affect students in low- income areas.