Superintendent explains late call regarding today's school closure
Superintendent explains late call regarding today's school closure Deteriorating roads led to decision to cancel school
ASD staff, including an assistant superintendent, transportation and maintenance department members, began driving roads at 3 a.m. "Initially, they weren't too bad," said Mike Abbott, assistant superintendent for Support Services. "However, the volume of snow and continued warm temperatures led to very difficult driving and walking conditions."
District officials continued to monitor the situation that was becoming increasingly difficult. "Early-reporting staff members were having a hard time getting to work, Anchorage Police reported deteriorating conditions, and municipal and state road plowing was not yet fully underway," said Abbott.
Around 6 a.m., the district considered delaying school 1-2 hours to accommodate the road situation, but following a discussion with Abbott and Steve Kalmes, director of ASD Transportation, Superintendent Carol Comeau instead chose to close all schools.
"Given the timeframe, I believe a delayed start would have been more disruptive than a school closure," said Comeau.
Comeau cites weather concerns from Thanksgiving 2010 as part of her decision making process.
"Last year, we chose to keep schools open but road conditions became very poor during drive time. Families were already headed to school when we realized how bad the situation had gotten. In hindsight, I should have reversed my decision, even though it was after the designated notification time. This morning, that is what I did. I apologize for the late notice. I always try to decide what is safe for our students and staff based on the information I have at hand." said Comeau.
The district strives to make closure decisions prior to 5:30 a.m. For more information on school closures, log on to www.asdk12.org/aboutasd/closureinfo.asp.
All ASD schools are closed today. This includes JBER, Girdwood and Eagle River/Chugiak schools. All after-school activities are also canceled.
ASD administrative facilities, including the Education Center, are operating a normal schedule.
The Anchorage School Board meeting will continue tonight as planned however the Creekside Park Elementary School choir performance will be rescheduled.
Buildings will remain open for groups scheduled to rent ASD facilities. Those activities will be held at the renter's discretion. Participants are encouraged to check with their event sponsor to confirm whether to event will take place.
Posted: December 12, 2011