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NEWS: Education

One Oklahoma School Forced To Use 18th Snow Day

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Westville High has had to close for snow 18 times this school year. Westville High has had to close for snow 18 times this school year.
City roads are covered in snow and slush, and once the sun goes down, more ice. City roads are covered in snow and slush, and once the sun goes down, more ice.
Superintendent Terry Heustis drove the bus routes to see if they could drive safely. Superintendent Terry Heustis drove the bus routes to see if they could drive safely.
ADAIR COUNTY, Oklahoma -

Winter weather has forced some Green Country schools to call off not just one or two weeks, but nearly four weeks' worth of class. While Tulsa, Broken Arrow and many of the bigger districts are back in class, one town is on its 18th snow day.

For some perspective Tulsa Public Schools has had 8 snow days, Bishop Kelley has had less than half of that. But in rural Westville, it's a dramatically different story.

Sidewalks in front of Westville High have been cleared, giving some hope that school will be back in session soon, but the streets, tell a different story, according to Superintendent Terry Heustis.

"This is gonna be so slick in the morning it's not even gonna be funny," Heustis said. "The road's just horrible."

As he drove the bus routes, he knew in the back of this mind, he'd have to cancel class Wednesday for the 18th time this school year.

"There's no way he could drive this road," Heustis said. "There's no way we can have school."

School is in session at Bishop Kelley in Tulsa. Administrators still drive the streets to make sure they're safe for students, but have only called off classes three times this year.

"We have about 500 teenaged drivers every single day, so we take that into account," said Father Brian O'Brien of Bishop Kelley.

Several other local private schools have only been out two days for the weather. Private schools have an advantage because, for the most part, they don't deal with bus routes.

3/3/2014 Related Story: Many Oklahoma Schools Figure Out How To Make Up Snow Days

In Westville, pretty much the only streets that are clear are the highways that go through town. The road next to the school is still icy, and other city roads are covered in snow and slush, and once the sun goes down, more ice.

900 of the district's 1,130 students ride the bus every day, many of them living in the rural foothills of the Ozark Mountains.

"It's not worth being on the news for having a bus wreck with a bunch of students on there to have school," said Heustis.

If something drastic doesn't happen to the roads in Westville, the superintendent is worried that they could be out of school for the rest of the week. About ten days have already been made up through build-in hours or professional days, but as for the rest, they'll be tacking on days to the end of the school year. That means students could be in school until June.

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