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Springfield school board discusses calamity days

Whether to use more calamity days was one of the topics of discussion for the Springfield City Schools board on Thursday night.

The city district has used six days so far this winter season. The limit set by the state is five.

Linda Shaffer, a former board member and current director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters, attended the meeting because she's interested in educating youth.

She said she didn't have to deal with calamity days when she was on the board, but said her general feeling about calamity days is that "districts need to have flexibility to keep their kids safe.

"I don't think many districts lightly call a calamity day," she said. "They do it because... there's a calamity."

The board took no action, but only wanted to discuss what to do if confronted with deciding whether to use another day out of class as schools are trying to prep students for the Ohio Achievement Assessments.

The OAAs are given for grades 3 through 8 and measure reading, math, science, social studies and writing.

Thursday night's meeting came one day after debate over teacher pay and classroom time caused the Ohio House of Representatives to delay a vote to extend the number of calamity days for schools.

Members plan to take another week to continue to work on the number of days in the proposal and review its costs, a House member said Wednesday.

Snow and frigid temperatures have led many districts across Ohio to exhaust their five allowable calamity days. Some -- including Greenon Local, Northeastern and Southeastern in Clark County -- have canceled classes for 10 or more days.

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, soon after he took office, convinced lawmakers to bump the number back to five. He has been among those advocating adding extra snow days on a one-time basis this year.

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