Those involved are calling it the Great Ohio Amphibian Compromise of '09.

Those involved are calling it the Great Ohio Amphibian Compromise of '09.

It might not have the historical significance of the Missouri Compromise, but the passage of Senate Bill 81 -- which will set the bullfrog as the state frog and the spotted salamander as the state amphibian -- will mark the end of a long lesson for Grizzell Middle School teacher Shawn Kaeser and his past and present students.

Kaeser, with the help of students, petitioned state lawmakers seven years ago to make the bullfrog the state amphibian.

"It started as a scavenger hunt," Kaeser said, when the class realized Ohio lacked a state amphibian.

Students chose the bullfrog, petitioned lawmakers and wrote several letters. The bill has gotten close to passage a few times over the years, but for various reasons, the measure wasn't approved. Kaeser and the students of his seventh-grade social studies seminar class hope Senate Bill 81 will pass this spring.

"I think this will be the year," Grizzell seventh-grader Dalton Miller said last week.

Miller is one of 16 seventh-graders who plan to visit the Statehouse this spring to testify for SB 81. The class was planning a trip for this week, but the backlog of bills before lawmakers delayed the hearing. The trip could be rescheduled for as soon as next week, though.

This is not the first time Kaeser has taken students to the Statehouse to see a vote firsthand.

"We've probably done it four or five times over the years," he said. "We try to go down whenever the bill is introduced."

Andrea Davidson, who plans to make her first trip to the Statehouse, said her older sister went when she was in Kaeser's class.

"I'm really excited," she said.

Tamin Hossain said he's excited to see the legislative process firsthand.

"This is a hands-on experience," he said.

"It puts it in a fun way that's interesting and easy to follow," Davidson added.

The experience has taught students about another part of government -- compromise.

Kaeser said he didn't expect the bill to take this long to pass, but some favored anointing the spotted salamander as the state amphibian.

"I expected a long haul, but I didn't expect people to come out against it," he said. "If there's something important to learn in life, it's to deal with this."

In response to a campaign from a Cleveland-area school that wanted the spotted salamander named the state amphibian, Sens. Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland) and Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) sponsored SB 81 to name the spotted salamander as state amphibian and the bullfrog as state frog.

"We've learned the biggest thing in politics is compromise," Hossain said.

But the students never backed down in their campaign, Kaeser said.

"The kids really like the idea of the bullfrog being rugged, a survivor," he said. "They say they're like the people who first came to Ohio."