Four of five Marion County school districts closed because of snow on Tuesday.
For Peabody-Burns, Marion, and Goessel, it was the fourth consecutive snow day. Durham-Hillsboro-Lehigh had three consecutive snow days but had school off on Friday for other reasons.
Centre was the only district to have school on Tuesday. Superintendent Jerri Kemble communicated with multiple county road graders about the condition of roads at 5 a.m., including USD 397 Board of Education member Mark Heiser. The county workers told Kemble that roads were not drifted and buses could pass. Besides a couple buses being shortly stuck, Centre students got to school on time with little issue, Kemble said.
Peabody-Burns Superintendent Lee Leiker also communicated with the Marion County Road and Bridge Department early Tuesday morning. Road and Bridge superintendent Randy Crawford told Leiker not to have school. Leiker saw as much himself, driving bus routes starting at 4 a.m.
“The wind drifted roads shut,” Leiker said. “The bus could not have run routes today.”
The difference between northern and southern roads was noticeable in the USD 410 district. The northwest part of the district, including Durham was fine, while roads south of Hillsboro were impassable, Superintendent Steve Noble said.
“I gave serious thought to having a late start,” Noble said. “There are two groups I worry about the most — young kids and adolescent drivers.”
USD 398 Superintendent Ron Traxson noticed a difference in roads north and south of U.S. 50.
With a flurry of recent snow days, USD 398 and USD 411 are the districts in danger of using all available days. Traxson said USD 398 had four days available. With another, snow cancellation, USD 398 would add school days at the end of the year, possibly on May 16 and 17. USD 411 Superintendent John Fast also said his districts limit was four snow days.
“We should be at the end of snow season,” Traxson said.
Leiker said USD 408 has about two available snow days. Noble said USD 410 has about 5.5 snow days.
Every district operates on an hourly basis, required by the state to have 1,116 hours of instruction. As one example, USD 410 scheduled 1,176 hours of instruction. USD 397 scheduled for 1,149 hours of instruction time. With recent snow days, the district is scheduled for 1,121 hours of instruction.