Archive for Thursday, December 7, 2006

Wintry mix forces schools to be closed

December 7, 2006

November didn't want to end without leaving its mark, along with wintry weather, on the Midwest.

Last week's winter storm covered Baldwin City streets with ice and snow, leaving first-year Supt. Paul Dorathy no choice about closing the schools.

"If there is ice on the road ways, it's a pretty easy decision," Dorathy said. "You can get an inch or two of snow, but people just have to slow down a bit. When you start getting quite a bit of snow, then it becomes hazardous."

Dorathy said he will always try to make the safest decision and not put lives in danger.

"My thing is always that I am going to err on the side of safety, rather than the other way," Dorathy said. "I would rather call school off and have the snow melt during the day than have a bus or student drive off the road."

He said there are two main reasons why he wants to always make the safest decision.

"The things we've got to consider are whether our buses can get by," Dorathy said. "They look big, but actually they are pretty light for the size of the bus. You have to be careful with buses while children are on there.

"The other thing we have to consider is all of the 16-year-old kids that are trying to drive to school through the snow," Dorathy said. "They are inexperienced drivers and don't always take the precaution that they should."

Although the Baldwin district was out of school for two days, Dorathy said there are still plenty of hours scheduled for the year, so no days will need to be made up for those missed.

"There are 1,158 hours scheduled into our year, as I have figured it," Dorathy said. "So if you subtract the two snow days, we are still at 1,145 hours. We are still within what the state requires us to do."

He explained how the process works for choosing how long the school year is and when snow days might be made up.

"Every school district in the state of Kansas can either go by number of school days or hours," Dorathy said. "This district does 1,116 hours. That is done by a resolution that the school board passes at its July meeting.

"Every school district is different," Dorathy said. "Some require that every day be made up and some schedule extra days in case of snow days. This district, as I understand it, does not do that unless we get closer to those 1,116 hours. If we do, then we would have to find some way to make those hours up."

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