Canceling school a tough decision for districts

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by Kim Fields

NWCN.com

Posted on January 10, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 7:33 AM

MERIDIAN -- School districts in the Treasure Valley say it's difficult to make the decision to cancel class due to inclement weather.

"It's always a tough choice," said Eric Exline with the Meridian School District. "Obviously there's safety of kids, and people are concerned about other people being on the road, and then there's the people who have to go to work, and there are issues of day care."

Most school districts say they begin the very early in the morning. Many districts will turn to a team of transportation supervisors, who often drive roads in the district to get a firsthand look at the conditions school buses and parents might endure.

"At 4, 4:30 in the morning we're looking around seeing what the roads are doing, seeing what the forecast is doing," said Exline.

Exline says another key factor is the future weather forecast. Meridian and Boise school districts hadn't canceled classes due to snow since Dec. 1, 2010.

"As I look around today it was clearly the right choice," said Exline. "I mean it's not getting better. It's getting worse."

The Kuna School District was one of the few districts in the greater Treasure Valley to remain open Thursday.

"It comes down to if our transportation people feel like we can safely get kids to school, we want to get them to school," said Wendy Johnson, assistant superintendent of Kuna School District.

Johnson says they too begin making their decision early in the morning, when she says the forecast looked more promising.

"When we looked in the forecast we thought, it's really not that terrible," said Johnson. "And we worry about the families who don't have child care."

Johnson says Kuna Schools had a 75 percent attendance rate Thursday, typically it's 90 percent.

"We take it very seriously. We don't have enough time working with our kids, teaching our kids, as is. So missing school is a big deal for us," said Johnson.

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