Mark Klumpp: Snow Days

Mark Klumpp, MOISD interim superintendent

Submitted by Mark Klumpp

MOISD interim superintendent

After receiving our first dusting of snow recently, I figured it would be a good time to discuss the topic of snow days.

This is one of the most difficult decisions school administrators deal with in Michigan. As you know, the weather is always changing and difficult to predict. Locally, your superintendents and transportation directors spend hours and hours behind the scenes talking to each other, checking weather reports and driving the roads before coming to a final decision. The decision to stay open or close is the responsibility of each individual district. The districts have specific roads or areas they check depending on if we are dealing with snow, ice, fog or drifting conditions. Due to the large geographical area our districts cover, many times they are out driving the roads by 3:30 a.m. Typically, we like to make the decision before 6 a.m. and when possible, we try to make it the night before so it is much easier on our parents to make arrangements for daycare for the younger students.

Due to their size, design and the professionals driving them, school buses are one of the safest ways to get students to school. That, however, does not prevent them from getting stuck, sliding down hills on icy roads or being struck by other vehicles. We also know a large portion of our students are less-experienced drivers who transport themselves to school in private cars. Additionally, all of our valuable staff members must trek their way into work in the adverse conditions. These are many of the things considered as we try and make the best decision possible with the information we have at that specific time. Unfortunately, our local road commission’s budgets have been slashed as well, and they are not able to provide the same level of service they have in the past. Many times they are rolling out their plow trucks at the same time our buses are leaving in the morning. This makes it difficult for them to have roads cleared for our numerous routes. I have also seen times when one side of a district is sunny with blue skies and the other corner of the district is cloudy with freezing rain, so please remember this when conditions are more favorable in your area and school has been canceled.

The local superintendents and transportation directors work collaboratively to make the best decision possible and we are always going to err on the side of caution when it comes to the safety and well-being of your children. We know we can always make up lost time because of snow days, but we can never replace a child.

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what goes into the decision making process of snow days, but if you need further clarification or have any other questions, please feel free to contact me at mklumpp@moisd.org.

Leave a Reply