Parents Want More Snow Days



Parents Want More Snow Days
By: Amy Jacquin

(Chaffee, MO)--We've shared stories with you about parents claiming school is called-off too easily, putting them in a child-care bind.  This is just the opposite story!
Most roads looked pretty clearn Monday.  But a few parents in the Chaffee area were concerned that classes are on in this kind of weather.
Roads in and around Chaffee were clear by mid-morning... after a few inches of snow fell on Sunday. But it wasn't enough to call off school. The superintendent and high school principal drove the bus routes and determined it was safe for the 10,000-pound buses.
"We drive in our pickups, and leave them in two-wheel drive," explained Superintendent Dr. Arnold Bell.  "We travel all the bus routes.  By 4 a.m. the roads were clear."
But not everyone agrees with Dr. Bell. Judi Livingston also drove the streets.
"Even the streets in town were ice-covered," she says. "The back roads were really bad.  Even the parking lots were covered in ice and snow.  I took pictures."
Judi kept her two sons home, and questions the safety of students on buses in this kind of weather.
"Accidents do happen," she says.  "I think it's better to pay a little extra for child care, or to stay home with your kids, rather than risk an accident.
On another snowy day, not too long ago, Chaffee was one of a few brave districts willing to hold school. In this area, a school bus slid off the road -- a minor thing, and no students were hurt -- but it was enough to cause some concern.
"It turns out no students live on that road," explained Dr. Bell.  "That road is used as a short-cut. It will only be used during good weather from now on!"

Vicky Martin's driveway is steep. She parks on top during bad weather.... but she still got stuck Monday morning! So it was another snow day for her third-grade daughter Samantha. "I don't feel penalized, and we're not asking for special treatment," says Vicky. "I just think a couple of the days when classes were held, should have been made-up at the end of the year."

Dr. Bell says safety always comes first. Then he just tries to save the district some money. "We still have to heat the building, even when we don't have class," he says.  "There's always a skeletal crew working in the building."

Also, Dr Bell says calling off school for a very small number of children, would create a more wide-spread problem with working parents who have to arrange daycare.  But considering the forecast for the rest of the week, superintendents across the Heartland may continue feeling pulled in different directions.
Chaffee missed nine days so far this year, pushing their last day back to May 22nd right now. And kids kept home for safety reasons in this kind of weather won't have an absence counted against them.