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Calamity days extension vote delayed

A debate over teacher pay and less classroom time has caused the Ohio House of Representatives to delay a vote to extend the number of calamity days for schools.

A House spokesman said Wednesday that members plan to take an additional week to continue to work on the number of days in the proposal and review its costs.

Snow and frigid temperatures has led many districts across Ohio to exhaust their five allowable calamity days. Some have cancelled classes for 10 or more days.

Gov. John Kasich has been among those advocating adding extra snow days on a one-time basis this year.

Another proposal slated to get a Senate hearing Wednesday would excuse high school seniors from makeup days that fall after their scheduled graduation ceremonies.

House Republican Caucus spokesman Mike Dittoe said there is debate among Republican lawmakers over how many extra days should be allotted – three or four – and a concern that excess calamity days means children will be spending less time in the classroom getting an education.

He also noted that state Rep. Gerald Stebleton, R-Lancaster, raised the issue that taxpayers would be paying for teachers and school staff on more days that they don’t actually work.

Former Gov. Ted Strickland reduced the number of calamity days to three from five in an effort to provide more classroom time without additional personnel costs. Gov. John Kasich, however, convinced lawmakers to bump the number back to five soon after he took office.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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