Archive for Thursday, December 10, 2009

Superintendent defends not canceling school

December 10, 2009


Rick Doll was the only Douglas County superintendent who decided not to cancel school Wednesday.

In keeping classes in session, Doll said, he and other Lawrence school administrators simply followed protocol. The decision-making starts about 4 a.m., when administrators and a bus company representative drive city and county roads, and walk sidewalks to determine whether they’re safe.

The district doesn’t rely on weather forecasts to call school off the night before because they could be inaccurate.

“If we would have done that this time, we would have been surprised that those 8 to 10 inches or whatever they predicted never showed up,” Doll said.

Doll said that administrators were somewhat concerned about the cold temperatures and wind chill.

“We typically do not call school off for temperature,” he said, “because if you think people can’t decide what a proper amount of snow is to call school off, then try to get agreement on temperature.”

Doll did emphasize that parents could keep their children home if they thought it was unsafe or too cold.


Steve Jacob 8 years, 2 months ago

Days like yesterday are 50/50, and some parents will complain either way.

rabbit 8 years, 2 months ago

Somebody is lying. There is no street walking going on at 4am

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

Many many people are stunned at how often school is cancelled over snow. Good golly there was barely snow.

Just enough to cause smart driving. The temp was cold enough to demand smart dressing and proper outer wear. People in North Dakota do it for a few months..... I spent 3 winters 60 miles from the canadian border. When the cold comes it stays.

If families need help with this type of clothing I'd say check out the Social Service League. I know people who are not in financial stress who love shopping the league. It is my speculation if a family has no money the league might just work that out.

Canceling school for yesterdays snow that did not come seems like the wrong decision. Hoods would be important for yesterday and today. Gloves and layering as well.

middlemgmt 8 years, 2 months ago

He did make the right call yesterday! For those that would have to stand outside, the parents can and should make a decision that is best for their child. Some parents could face loss of wages by staying home when school is closed. Daycares also follow what the public schools are doing so even if your children are not old enough to go public school, you may still lose your childcare for the day.

Robert Rauktis 8 years, 2 months ago

Parents make a decision? You got to be joking! Better to blame the schools.

KSManimal 8 years, 2 months ago

Good call, Dr. Doll!

It never ceases to amaze me how many districts close at the slightest hint of challenging weather.

GardenMomma 8 years, 2 months ago

LarryNative (Anonymous) says…

I kept my kids home and we had fun playing outside in the snow.

And why did you keep your kids home again? Was it the 2 inches of snow or the wind chill factor or some other reason?

I ask because if you kept them home because it was too cold outside, why were you having "fun playing outside in the snow"?

Just curious.

Michelle Hayes 8 years, 2 months ago kept your kids home because it was too cold, but yet you have fun playing outside in the snow???

But seriously, the next time a decision has to be made, it could go the other way. And I guarantee the same people will be complaining about that decision...

Betty Bartholomew 8 years, 2 months ago

Um... If anybody cares to read Larry's post, he doesn't say why he kept them home, only that he did and that they played in the snow.

I myself don't have kids, however, if I did, I probably would've kept them home yesterday, as well: The roads near the schools may have been ok, and many of the main roads were fine, but when I left my house for work at 7:15, the roads in my neighborhood were snowy and icy, and my car doors were frozen shut (thankfully got them opened, but it was a pain). If I hadn't already had to take off of work the week before due to being sick, I probably would've stayed home, too!

jc1221_tks 8 years, 2 months ago

Absolutely the right decision Dr. Doll. Thanks!

Randall Barnes 8 years, 2 months ago


Judgesmails 8 years, 2 months ago

@larrynative - youre a genius. wow.......crickets

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 2 months ago

If only the people who chose to shut down all state office buildings in Topeka had as much foresight as Mr. Doll.

Tammy Yergey 8 years, 2 months ago

I do think it ironic that they work with the bus company to determine whether the schools should be open, and yet most of the bus routes were discontinued this year. So why does it matter what they think? I instead think of the kids who now have to walk up to 2.5 miles to get to and from school in this bitter cold. Hopefully they were able to find rides home with friends.

gccs14r 8 years, 2 months ago

Coat, hat, scarf, gloves, boots, maybe long underwear, and the kid will be fine walking to school, even a whole 2.5 miles. Heck, he might even get into an impromptu snowball fight along the way. Horrors! Oh, and this is classic:

" I educate them inaddition what the school may or may not be providing what I consider edequate."

Just the kind of parent teachers must love. "But Daddy said you're wrong."

mom_of_three 8 years, 2 months ago

"I don't want my child to fall behind.” What a bunch of nonsense. My kids are two grades ahead in reading and writing because of the extra time we spend with them. Parents: Stop being lazy and invest in your childs future"

So what if your kids are learning something you can't explain, like math. it's changed so much since I was taught, and i can't teach it to my kids the way the teachers do. I wouldn't want them to fall behind either.
P.S. Larry, you might want to edit when you preview.....would hate for your kids to misspell words with the extra time you spend with them.

braverthanu 8 years, 2 months ago

Closing schools = saving money...Dr. Doll should have more financial forsight.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 2 months ago

Somebody is lying. There is no street walking going on at 4am

---uh, we bet that's virtual walking on virtual sidewalks, including the *walking schoolbus going on then!

and yes, if that's virtual street walkig, then do the Johns pay with virtual money?

hey, knowing Mr. Native's posts, did it occur to an of you that he might have been just a tad ssarcastic? spelling errors intentional?

p2knucklehead 8 years, 2 months ago

I think Doll should have cancelled. All the other districts did. Also, does the fact that they walk and drive the streets at 4am have anything to do with my school bus being 20 minutes late? Maybe they should start at 3am and then actually be on time.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 2 months ago

Good call, Dr. Doll. School needs to be in session for lots of reason, the main one being an opportunity for the kids to learn. Superintendents can never win this one; they just need to decide, move on and work on the next crisis.

acg 8 years, 2 months ago

They had school in Jeff Co. yesterday, too, and the roads were very treacherous. That's because Billy Bob the plow guy doesn't even bother until two or three days after the event. I think that Jeff. Co's way of dealing with bad roads is to just eventually let the sun melt it.

I was in high school with a kid who's dad was the super for our school district at that time. Poor kid couldn't catch a break. Every time there was inclement weather and his dad didn't call off school, poor Brian had to hear about it all day long. If they call too many snow days now, then they'd have to tack them on to the end of the year and then the parents would be mad because it would interfere with spring and summer vacation plans.

fskid6100 8 years, 2 months ago

You would think that if they kept the schools open the school district would have the common courtesy to get rid of the ice in the student parking lot. There was 5 centimeters of it most students had to get out of their cars to find the parking lines. It was ridiculous.

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