By Jeff Gallatin
This winter’s bad weather has postponed the scheduled end of the 2013-2014 school year and prompted the North Olmsted City Schools to extend the school calendar two additional days in early June to make up time lost to calamity days.
As of Friday, the district had used seven calamity days to cancel school because of extreme cold and snowy conditions. Because Ohio districts are only allowed five calamity days before they must start to make up for lost time, the district, like many others, waited to see what the state legislature would do.
However, Superintendent Mike Zalar said at the March 12 board meeting that the legislature’s final action didn’t really offer any relief to the district. He said the district had not missed enough days to allow it to not make up the others.
“We’re still going to have make up two days, and we’ve decided that it’s best to just add them on to the end of the school year,” he said.
That means the last day for students will be Friday, June 6, instead of Wednesday, June 4. The last day for teachers is now Monday, June 9.
Zalar said district officials felt it was easier to add them on to the first week of June, since the students would still be in school that week anyway.
“It’s really too late to try and add them to the spring break time period,” he said. “Many people have made plans for that time period, and it wouldn’t be fair to them to try and make them change (their) plans at this late date.”
Zalar said putting the make-up days in other time periods also didn’t make as much sense as putting them at the end of a week where classes were already scheduled to take place.
When school board member Tom Herbster said perhaps the district should consider discussing other ways of dealing with school cancellations caused by weather and other unexpected issues, Zalar agreed. The superintendent said one option they could discuss is using total school hours instead of days, since North Olmsted could exceed the current minimum hours requirement.
North Olmsted High School Principal Jeff Stanton said seniors will still graduate at the same time and will not have to come two extra days. Both he and middle school Principal Tom Dreiling said they would make any necessary adjustments to finals testing schedules.