By Jeff Gallatin
District officials took steps at the June 23 Bay Village Board of Education meeting toward making it easier to make up calamity days.
Board members tentatively approved having the minimum requirements for the school calendar year be based on hours of instruction as defined by the state department of education instead of days. In a related move, it approved a memorandum of understanding with the Bay Teachers Association to base the district academic calendar on hours. To become permanent, the move must also be approved by the Bay Teachers Association. Since the current contract between the district and teachers association runs until 2016 and contains stipulations based on days of instruction instead of hours, the district is required to get the agreement of the teachers union for the change.
“Parents and students really won’t notice the difference in calamity days or school being called off, because we’ll still be making those decisions based on weather or whatever is causing us to not have school,” school Superintendent Clint Keener said. “The difference is, we won’t be required to make things up as quickly when it’s based on hours instead of days.
“We’re well over the state’s minimum hours requirement already with the length of our school days, so we would have to be out of school quite a bit for that to happen,” he said. “And ideally, we won’t run into the situation all that much. We’ve only had two times in 40 years where having to make up the calamity days came into play. That was last year and about 40 years ago in the 1970s, when there were problems with gas and heating because of the weather.”
As approved by the board, the hourly requirements for 2014-2015 were set at the following for each school based on 183.5 instructional days: high school, 6.5 hours per day for a total of 1,192 hours for the year, with a minimum of 1,001 required by the state; middle school, 6.35 hours per day for a yearly total of 1,143 hours, with a state minimum of 1,001; Westerly School, 5.6 hours per day for a yearly total of 1,027 hours, with a state minimum of 910 hours; Normandy School, 5.33 hours daily for a yearly total of 978 hours, with a state minimum of 910; all-day kindergarten, 2.55 hours per day for a yearly total of 468 hours, with a state requirement of 455. The board also approved a calamity day make-up plan for half-day kindergarten since it has a different hourly setup.
“All the full-day schools have a large amount of hours over the minimum and would have to miss many days of instruction for it to become an issue,” Keener said. “Our biggest issue as a district will be whether we want to set any local standards as to how many actual days of instruction we would want to miss before we want to make them up. That’s because of testing and other programs where if you miss too many days it could create potential issues for the students and learning.”
Keener said the various issues would be re-examined when new contracts are negotiated in 2016, and that the district would monitor state legislative activities that could affect the situation as well.