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More involved in calling calamity days than meets the eye, Streetsboro superintendent says

by mike lesko | Reporter Published: March 12, 2014 12:00 AM

Streetsboro -- With cold, snowy weather hammering northeast Ohio this winter, school districts throughout northeast Ohio have used plenty of "calamity days."

"We've had a significant amount of calamity days this year," Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh said at the Feb. 13 Streetsboro Board of Education meeting.

State legislators are still debating about expanding the number of permissible calamity days, which remains at five. Streetsboro has used eight as of March 10. If the number of days allowed is not expanded, the district will have to make up those days at the end of the regularly-scheduled year unless the number of calamity days is expanded by the state legislature.

Streetsboro has used Blizzard Bags, a program offered by the state legislature as an alternative to adding school days in June after districts use their five allotted calamity days. Blizzard Bags are bags of homework that teachers have to give children to make up for snow days.

The Board of Education unanimously adopted the Blizzard Bags program at its Feb. 13 meeting, and Daulbaugh wrote a letter to parents on the district's website, www.streetsboroschools.com.

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In the meantime, school officials are ready for the possibility of more calamity days this school year.

"A lot of people don't realize what goes into calling a calamity day," Daulbaugh said. "It's not just, 'Oh, gee, it looks like it's snowy outside, and it's cold,' and [I] pick up the phone and call everyone. We like to have those [calamity days] called by 6 a.m., so a lot of things happen very early."

The process of deciding whether to call a snow day begins hours before dawn.

He said it begins with Daulbaugh contacting Randy Tevepaugh, the district's athletic director and director of buildings and grounds, at about 4:30 to 5 a.m.

"He and I begin immediately communicating," Daulbaugh said. "Randy calls the Streetsboro Police Department, and he's on the phone with [Service Director] Bill Miller, who is out on the roads, assessing them so he can get road crews out.

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Police cruisers are also out evaluating road conditions, while Daulbaugh said he is checking weather forecasts.

"So the police and service departments aid us in making those decisions," he said. "This has become quite a partnership."

After receiving road condition reports from Miller and police officers and weighing the weather forecasts, "I have a series of phone calls I make," said Daulbaugh.

The school district must also contact media outlets to notify them about calamity days in addition to sending out a simultaneous phone call to alert all parents and guardians of students.

"I just wanted everyone to know what goes into calling a snow day," Daulbaugh added. "It's pretty significant."

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9439

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