FLEXIBILITY IS a good thing in all avenues of life. In the realm of school calendars, district superintendents may be in line to receive much more of that valued commodity.
While Ohio Gov. John Kasich's school funding formula has been met with less than gushing approval locally, one proposal could give schools more flexibility with their calendars.
Proposed Ohio House Bill 32 would allow schools to change the way they design their yearly calendars by requiring districts to ensure students are in class for a certain number of hours rather than for the current 182 days.
The bill states schools "shall be open for instruction with pupils in attendance, including scheduled classes, supervised activities, and approved education options but excluding lunch and breakfast periods and extracurricular activities" for 455 hours each year for half-day kindergarten programs; 910 hours annually for full-day kindergarten and grades one through six; and 1,001 hours a year for grades seven through 12.
Such a plan may be useful tool here in Eastern Ohio where nasty winters often play havoc with the school calendars.
An extended stretch of snowy, icy or extreme cold conditions can quickly erode the five calamity days each school district is allotted in Ohio.
Often times making up those snow days is difficult, especially later in the school year. Switch from a day-based calendar to one dictated by hours can provide much-needed maneuverability in making up lost time.
House Bill 32 calls for a district that opts to retain a 182-day calendar would need to have older students in class for five and a half hours daily to meet the 1,001-hour requirement. Increasing the length of day to six hours would see students complete 1,001 hours in less than 167 full days.
Consequently, the proposed legislation would make it much easier for districts to make up for lost days by expanding the school days by just 30 or 60 minutes. Should the legislation become reality, it would empower districts to adapt to their own unique circumstances.
House Bill 32 is a proposal that makes perfect educational sense. It gives school districts non-mandated options.