Weather Calls by Dr. Tim Markley

Often times when I visit school and classrooms, I will ask students if they know what my job is as a superintendent. For the younger elementary students this can be a stumper, so I tell them about my responsibility to grade principals and other tasks. Then I tell them about closing schools due to weather. They get that aspect of the job very quickly. It is not an aspect of the job I take lightly and for the most part, people understand the rationale for the decision. Sometimes though, it can be hard to understand the reason for the decision. This past storm offers a prime example, Monday and Tuesday were obvious with snow on the ground and roads throughout the county, school was cancelled. We were also out Wednesday as well and for many of our parents that decision seemed less obvious.

The decision was made due to road conditions in the northern third of the county and the projected weather conditions over the next 24 hours. School transportation staff and I checked conditions in the northern end of the county. We found that many schools still had snow and lots of standing water on the entrance roads and in the parking lots. Many of the side roads that our buses travel are also still snow covered. Much of the standing water was expected to freeze tonight and temperatures will not get above freezing until well after 10:00am. Even with a two hour delay our students would have been outside before 8:00 a.m. We also run a number of special programs that have students moving from one end of the county to the other so that makes closing select schools impossible. Unlike northern states that deal with snow a regular basis the school system and the Transportation Department do not have the snow equipment to do all that is necessary to ensure student and staff safety, snow is not the norm for this area. Additionally, a number of our staff members do not live in the county and would have to travel here from other counties that still have even more snow on the ground.

Hopefully, this will be the extent of our snow this year. We will make a decision on make-up days as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience.

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5 Responses to Weather Calls by Dr. Tim Markley

  1. Judy Mixon says:

    Thank you for not only explaining the circumstances but doing what is best for our children. As a teacher in your system, I thank you.

  2. Crystal Wagner says:

    Thank you for keeping our children safe. I live on the north end of the county and there was no way the kids could of gotten to school safely on Wed. Thank you again!!
    I am an employee in your school system and appreciate your hard work.

  3. Jess Frank says:

    Thank you for explaining the weather storm situation. Even though I understand that snow is not very common here, one thing they do up north is they have a few snow days saved up so that in the event that there is snow/ice that is bad enough to close schools, they can use these days for that. This way, it does not affect the school calendar and we would not have to make the days up. Would it be worth looking at doing something like that here?

  4. Nadine says:

    Dr. Markley,
    I appreciate your consideration for the safety of everyone in your decision to close schools. Also I appreciate you going out to check the road conditions with the students and employees in mind.

    Hats off to you!!

    Thanks so much!!

  5. Candace Weaver says:

    Dr. Markley,
    As a lifelong member of this community I thank you for your decision to close the schools. However, I do hope that our makeup days are not simply tacked on the end of the school year with no thoughts to the testing schedule. The middle school students feel as though school has ended with the completion of those tests even with one or more weeks to go on the school calendar. It is very hard to convince them that the social studies and often times algebra SOC has not been completed at EOG time. We simply must continue to teach.