Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 9, 2014

Miami Co. schools cancelled again

Students get extended winter break with snowy roads closing schools.

By Carson Gerber Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — PERU – All three Miami County school districts have now cancelled every day since returning from winter break, but school officials say they hope to get waivers that would allow them not to make up some of the missed days.

The state is offering waivers to school corporations who cancelled school Monday and Tuesday because of extreme winter weather. Indiana schools are required to have at least 180 instructional days each school year.

“You don’t know what the state is going to do on the waiver, but it’s a rare thing to get 17 inches of snow,” said Peru Community Schools Superintendent Chuck Brimbury.

Brimbury said a primary reason for again cancelling school today was rural roads not plowed wide enough to accommodate bus traffic.

He said there’s also too much snow on sidewalks and bus stops to allow kids to safely wait for buses.

“The plow drivers are working hard, but there’s still a lot of snow to be removed,” he said.

Winter weather also caused problems at Peru Junior High School Wednesday. Brimbury said a frozen pipe broke and caused some minor water damage in one of the rooms.

Peru schools cancelled once before earlier in the school year due to inclement weather. Brimbury said the school calendar has three cancellation days built into the schedule, so making up days shouldn’t be a problem if they receive the state waiver.

Maconaquah School Corporation Superintendent Doug Arnold also cited rural roads with only one lane open as a reason for calling of classes today.

“The roads are pretty awful in Miami County,” he said. “Our concern is getting buses stuck.”

Maconaquah schools cancelled one day after a tornado hit the area in June, but Arnold said the state waived that missed day.

He said if the state grants waivers for this week’s cancellations, the remaining two days will be made up on President’s Day and in June at the end of the school year.

“These decisions are not easy to make,” Arnold said. “We want our kids to be in school, but we always err on the side of caution in these situations.”

Both superintendents were cautiously optimistic about heading back to school Friday, but said there’s no guarantee.

“We’re optimist for Friday, but we’re not there yet,” Brimbury said. “But I can assure you this: We won’t be heading back until it’s safe.”

Officials at North Miami Community Schools could not be reached Wednesday.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.