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Twice this week most surrounding schools started late because of treacherous roads, while LSH opened at normal time. How is this decision made? Both days the bus that goes by my place was barely moving, snowplowing on this side of the river is sporadic at best, given recent retirements.
Maybe a lurker from LSH district office can eleaborate on the process.

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http://www.hendersonmn.com/chatter/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=15587#Post15587

From the above post:

Anyhow, then I got to thinking about the person at the school who has to make the call on postponing school or closing it. What an absolute thankless job. You don’t call it and people complain. You do call school off and people complain.


I do know the snow plow did not come by my place until 8 a.m. or so this morning and the bus comes by before 7 a.m. It is interesting that Sibley East is closed, St. Peter is closed and Le Center is closed. Meanwhile - Belle Plaine and Cleveland are not on the school alert list.

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If people have concerns, the person to contact would be Dave Johnson. Voice your concerns to him and to the district bus service. Without letting them know that you're concerned it's falling on deaf ears. BE HEARD!!!!

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The administrators read this forum, and we will get better mileage out of their explanation here.

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Actually the phone calls have made a HUGE difference. Mr. Johnson has received numerous calls in this matter and it is getting noticed. There is information being sent home with students and to the newspapers in regards to this. You can check out Hilltop's websight for the information. www.isd2397.org/hilltop

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Letter from Mr. Johnson to LSH Parents

Thank you to those of you who communicated directly with me this morning. In response to these numerous weather-related concerns and questions, I felt it was necessary to clarify our process for making Late start/Closing decisions, specifically in regard to this morning and last Monday.

The late start situations this week were somewhat different than usual since we had different road conditions than St. Peter and Sibley East and made different closing decisions accordingly. In the past couple of years, we have had comparable weather conditions and made the same decision.

The Late Start/Closing decision process begins with Transportation Coordinator Jim Felmlee who gets up early (4 AM or earlier) and drives throughout the rural area of the school district to assess the weather & road conditions. If he is concerned about safety, he calls me at home and we discuss the situation somewhere between 4:45 - 5:15 AM. Then we check online weather forecasts for the day and frequently call other school districts to get their perspectives. We talk again to make a final decision. If we decide to be go late or close, the parent notification system is activated (takes 45 minutes to complete its cycle) and TV automated systems are called.

On Monday, after driving the country roads Jim felt we would be OK starting on time and, therefore, did not call me. However, at about 5:30 AM, St. Peter Supt. Jeff Olson called concerned about the ice in their school district and his conversations with Mankato and Nicollet - they planned to be 2 hours. I called Jim and that is when he told me that we should be OK since the roads were all plowed, we did not have the ice that St. Peter/Mankato area had, and the wind chill index was not close to our benchmark. As it turned out, all buses were on time to school except one bus that was a few minutes late, because a student had to go back to their house from the bus after forgetting something.

This morning, St. Peter Supt. Jeff Olson called me at 6 AM and notified me that their roads were still icy, their country roads were not plowed, and they were going to be 2 hours late, like Mankato and Nicollet. Since Jim had not called me with a concern, I called him to double-check on our road conditions. When I called, Jim was out driving the rural roads. His assessment was that the snow wasn't that deep, there was no wind, the county plows were out , the forecast was for light snow until 11 AM, and we should be OK to start on time. As it turned out, all of the buses were on time to school except one bus that had a front tire go off the road and stuck in the upper ditch out west of town by the Walbaum's. We talked again at 9 AM and he reported that the weather reports were for the light snow to move out of our area this morning by 11 AM. St. Peter, Mankato, Le Center, and Sibley East closed and the weather report for snow was extended to 2 PM. As I write this memo at 12 noon, we are monitoring the weather to gauge whether an early out would be wise or not. It may be better to stay in school and give more time for the townships and counties to finish plowing when the snow subsides.

In conclusion:
I understand that not everyone is going to agree with our Late Start/Closing decisions due to where they live and their tolerance levels for road and plowing conditions. We try to make decisions that are reasonable and responsible for the District as a whole. Parents have the discretion to make a different decision in regard to their own children.

Jim Felmlee has well over 30 years of experience and is very conservative when it comes to taking risks with students and the bus drivers. I trust and depend on his assessments in order to make decisions that are in the best interest of students and families. From our perspective compared with decisions in the past, both morning decisions this week were not "borderline," but relatively straightforward in how we should proceed for our school district.

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I wonder what roads Jim looks at. LeCenter closed, Sibley East closed, one has primarily LeSueur County roads, one has predominately Sibley County roads, both have significantly less hills than we do.

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This is a "no win" for the district. My attendance was no different today than any other day for all classes.

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I can't believe they had school today. Although Le Seuer might have less snow than Henderson -so they didn't know. Anyhow, the bus was just digging getting away from the driveway this morning. I hear it got stuck later and it wasn't the only LSH bus stuck today. I told the kids, be happy it was on the way to school!

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Was Sibley County under a no-plow zone today? Where in the hell were the plows? None of my gravel roads were plowed. If they are trying to pinch pennies over public safety, I don't get it. If they don't want to plow the gravel roads, at least they could scrape the hills. I was crossways on the Jessenland Road (Laab's Hill) around noon today and I thought I was going to go over the side. If this is our county engineer's new plowing policy, I think it is total BS!!

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