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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Schools monitor snowfall closely

Friday, December 7, 2007

It's 6 a.m.

It snowed close to six inches the night before. The car has to be cleaned off and warmed up for the drive to work.

For some, that's reality. For others, particularly students, it may not have to happen.

Officials with Clay Community Schools find themselves monitoring the weather more than usual this time of year.

The first snow hit the county late Thursday evening and continued into Friday morning.

But Frank Misner didn't have time to rest.

The CCS Director of Transportation -- who has been working in the position for eight years -- was preparing himself for a day of decisions.

Will the corporation face a delay or not?

On Friday, Misner said the process of deciding whether to delay school or even to cancel the day is not one that is taken lightly.

"I'm part of the team," he said, referring to himself, CCS Director of Buildings and Grounds Tom Reberger and CCS Supt. Dan Schroeder.

"(Schroeder) is the final voice, but we make our recommendation," Misner said.

During the winter months, there are times when Misner's day may begin at 4 a.m.

He said if snow is in the forecast, he makes sure he gets up at 4 a.m. to get out on the roads. After driving a few of the bus routes, he then contacts Schroeder to deliver his findings.

Misner added during this time, Reberger checks out parking lots and sidewalks at school buildings.

The two then contact Schroeder, who makes the determination to either have a delay or to cancel school for the day. Misner added there are times when county officials and state officials are working together with the corporation to determine the best decision.

He said road conditions and temperatures are taken into account when making the decision.

"Each situation is different," he said. "A six-inch snow would really paralyze us. It's more than looking out the window and seeing if the roads are slick. Your best bet is to go out and check certain roads and try to get back by 5:30 a.m. and make a reasonable decision."

CCS officials have to get the information out quick for parents and students because buses start making the morning rounds at close to 6:45 a.m. each day, Misner said.

He said after a decision is made, Schroeder then calls media outlets, particularly radio and televisions, to get the information out there. He then starts a "phone tree," by calling different corporation officials, who in turn, continue making calls to various other corporation members.

Misner said the corporation always takes into account how drivable roads are, particularly for teenagers.

"Obviously, we want to get school in, but you always want to err on the side of caution," he said. "You've really got to worry about those kids."

Misner said the decision to implement a two-hour delay Friday was made because of road conditions, teenagers driving to work and because it was dark at the time. It would be easier for the teenagers to drive to school when it was lighter, hence the delay.

"If it's the night before, and you get six-to-eight inches of snow, it's a no-brainer," he said. "Sometimes, two-to-four inches (of snow) are more difficult decisions than six-to-eight inches. A snow like (Friday's) can cause some problems."

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