One Oklahoma School District On 16th Snow Day

Monday, February 10th 2014, 6:09 pm
By: Craig Day

School superintendents across the area are having to roll with the punches thrown our way by old man winter. Several Oklahoma school districts were still closed Monday or their buses were on snow and ice routes.

Some of the worst road conditions were in Kansas, Oklahoma.

In the Kansas school district, altogether the school buses travel more than 500 miles each day, mostly on rural roads. The main roads through town: no problem. But, driving the back roads, which make up the majority of the school bus routes, that's a different story.

"Our backroads are solid sheets of ice, they're like skating rinks," said Leann Barnwell, Kansas superintendent.

The district already has 11 snow days built into the calendar, far more than most school systems. But they're now on their 16th snow day. 

"We want to be in school, because we're concerned about our kids test scores and our teachers want to be here. It's frustrating, but it's not worth someone's life," Barnwell said.

District Transportation Director Phil Isom took us on some of the roads that buses would normally have to travel.

"Most of the time we get a patch of warm weather that thaws these out and we're able to go back to school, but it just didn't happen that way this year," he said. 

The narrow, curvy roads are often hilly, and with so many trees, they're covered in shade most all day. Any snow that does melt refreezes into ice and can take days to melt. 

"Rather them all be safe than take a chance," said Phil Isom, Kansas School District transportation director. 

To make matters worse, ice routes for buses are out of the question. 

"We cannot stay on paved roads and get enough students to school, to have school," said Superintendent Leann Barnwell.

The district will make up days with Presidents' Day and Good Friday, by adding 30 minutes to each school day, and they'll push a teacher professional day to the end of the year. All the while, hoping they're spared from more winter weather.

"I'm praying hard right now that maybe it will miss us," Barnwell said. 

Of course, that's the worry of school superintendents across the area who are running out of snow days. If there are any additional school closures we'll have them on air and on