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School Schedule Flex Bill Passes; GOP on Verge of Ohio House Supermajority
Posted on: 11/29/2012
By  Mike Cullums
 
State Representative Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) says the Ohio House of Representatives yesterday passed House Bill 191, which aims to provide more flexibility at the local level and allow local schools to customize their annual school calendars.
 
Thompson says the Bill changes the minimum school year from 182 days to a requirement of 455 hours for half-day kindergarten, 920 hours for grades 1 through 6, and 1001 hours for grades 7 through 12. The change would go into effect during the 2013-14 school year.
 
The legislation also includes a measure to eliminate excused calamity days but retain the option of so-called blizzard bags and online lessons to make up the equivalent of three school days. It also requires districts to hold public hearings on their school calendars thirty days prior to adoption.
 
Thompson says the Bill passed with bipartisan support and will now be sent to the Ohio Senate.
 
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Believe it or not, there are still two ballot recounts taking place around the state and, depending on the outcomes, Republicans could be about to gain what’s known as a “supermajority” in the Ohio House of Representatives. One already exists in the Ohio Senate.
 
If both recounts go the Republicans’ way, they would enjoy a 60-to-39 House majority – meaning the minority party would have no power to do much of anything.
 
For example, Democrats say it would have been impossible to get the repeal of controversial Senate Bill 5 on last year’s election ballot, had a supermajority existed then.
 
Democrats, independents and some Republicans say it’s never a good idea for one party to hold nearly all the power.
 
State Representative Debbie Phillips (D-Athens), the assistant minority whip, says legal challenges could come as those two races are recounted.
 
“We really have to analyze the details on the provisional ballots that were rejected, and assess our process in making sure that those are counted,” Phillips explains.
 
It could be late December before we know who won the seats. One is in the Dover-New Philadelphia area; the other is in suburban Cleveland.  
 
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