Let It Snow – Maybe?
Kings must wait for new ‘snow-day’ policy
Ohio has switched its snow-day laws to a more flexible system that, in effect, could keep Kings from ever having another “make-up day” in June.
But Kings will have to wait a year before it sees these benefits, said district leaders.
Kings is one of many public school districts still operating under a previous teacher contract, or “bargaining agreement.” Kings teachers will not renew their contracts until next year, so the law states that Kings cannot begin using the new snow day system.
The new system works like this:
Instead of giving all school districts 5 “free” snow days and requiring them to make up any days beyond that, Ohio decided to allow schools to count how many hours students are in school.
The minimum number of hours for grades K-6 is 910; the minimum for grades 7-12 is 1,001 hours. All Kings students greatly surpass those numbers — by the equivalent of nearly 20 school days per year. Thus, in theory, Kings would have to call off school more than 20 days in the winter before making up any instruction time in June. A very unlikely scenario.
Last January when the new “hourly” policy was announced, Kings leaders were relieved. At the time, then Superintendent Valerie Browning said the new policy would give district leaders much more flexibility and relieve some of the pressure in deciding when to call off school.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich also applauded the new policy, calling it a much better solution to the unpredictable Ohio weather.
But while other districts move to counting hours this year, Kings will have to wait until the new policy can be written into its new teacher contract — up for renewal next year.
Tim Spinner, superintendent of Kings said the new policy will be good for the district.
“We always want what is in the best interest of the students” he said. “This policy offers more flexibility in making decisions on closing the school.”
Either way, Kings has used one snow day so far, with just 4 to go before school in June becomes a reality. Fortunately, few decisions have had to occur this year. With just one snow day so far, Kings is heading into a Winter Break that has often felt more like “late fall” than winter.