The last thing we all imagined when we went on the holiday break was to come back to the weather that 2014 had in store for us.February 18, 2014 marked the eleventh day of school that the Gobles Public Schools have missed due to inclement weather for the 2013-2014 school year.
Michigan law requires students to be in class for 1098 hours of instructional time or at least 170 days. We are only through the month of January and part of February and we have already exceeded the State limit of six "snow" days, with the likelihood of more weather problems before June. Barring any change from the Michigan legislature, it is likely that we will need to extend the school year to make up missed class time.
When considering how instructional time needs to be made up, the goal is to make it as least disruptive to students and their families. As we go forward from here and in cooperation with the Gobles Educational Association, the district will continue to examine our options. One thing the school community can plan on, there will be no changes to Spring Break.
It has been a frustrating winter so far and extremely challenging for sure. I empathize with parents scrambling to make child care arrangements. The last thing we want to do is call off school, but please know that our first priority is child safety.
To help give parents and community members a better perspective, I will explain the decision-making process that I implement on whether to call school off or not. Again, student safety is my top priority and is the number one consideration in all school closings.
Several factors aid my decision to keep school buildings open or closed, as follows:
1. Weather conditions from our transportation department as they relate to our bus fleet;
2. Road conditions provided first hand by district official that travels roads between 3:00 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.;
3. Temperature, wind, and wind chill information from local meteorologists;
4. Drifting and snow accumulations information from police and the county highway department;
5. Parking lot conditions;
6. Building conditions;
7. Discussions with other district superintendents;
Some of these factors are difficult to assess before the morning in question which often leaves parents less time to plan. There is no way to be perfect with this. I can only make the best decision in real time with the best available information. Please know that I will do whatever the weather warrants, no matter how many school days we will need to add to the month of June. I will always be guided by doing the right thing for student’s safety and transportation.