Most buildings in Columbus City Schools have one calamity day left for the remainder of the school year as a result of closures necessitated by the effects of the Sept. 14 windstorm in central Ohio.

Most buildings in Columbus City Schools have one calamity day left for the remainder of the school year as a result of closures necessitated by the effects of the Sept. 14 windstorm in central Ohio.

The district was shut down for four days last week and 11 schools were closed for five days.

Karla Warren, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Education, said there may be some confusion over calamity days.

"The state allows for a district to take up to five days and not have to make them up," Warren said. "If they go over that five, they do have to make them up. There is nothing in the law that allows them to be forgiven."

Jeff Warner, a spokesman for CCS, said district officials have yet to discuss how the schools will make up days because of inclement weather or other circumstances.

"The calamity day issue was really a non-issue," Warner said. "Our concern was not how many calamity days we could use, but to make sure our students and staff were in a safe location."

Warner said the district can choose to make up calamity days in numerous ways.

"We don't predetermine those days, but customarily they are added on at the end of the school year," Warner said. "It may be a very mild winter, and we are hoping it is so we don't have to add those days on."

At one point, 69 buildings, scattered throughout the district, were without power, which severely affected how the district functioned, Warner said. There are 140 district facilities.

"We lost power to two of our key support centers, our computer center and transportation office where we dispatch the buses," Warner said, noting that the district had no way to communicate with buses or between schools.

"All the district's applications were running through that office," he said about the computer center.

In addition, Warner said officials were worried about downed power lines and nonworking traffic signals.

"It is critical (students) have safe walking routes to our schools," he said.

He said most schools were able to start classes again last Friday because of diligent work by the city and the power companies.

Warner said the district worked with the Columbus Division of Police to have officers located at nonworking traffic lights on bus routes.

Larry Hoskins, the district's chief operating officer, said none of the district's buildings received significant damage.

"We are very fortunate from an infrastructure standpoint," Hoskins said.

Nonetheless, he said the lack of power forced the district to throw away food that spoiled.

"We certainly have some food issues with the power going out," Hoskins said. "Basically, if it was defrosted we had to get rid of that."

Warner said the district has yet to determine how much food was lost or how much it will cost. He said he didn't know when district officials would have the total cost for damage caused by the storm.

"We are determining all those costs associated with the windstorm damage and shut down and we are going to apply with (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) for federal reimbursement for any overtime, any damage or anything of that nature," Warner said.

Dcross@thisweeknews.com