Decision-making in DPS day off


Many local school districts canceled classes Thursday because of the bitter cold, including Decatur Public Schools; however, unlike some schools, it wasn't until early this morning that decision was made, and that didn't sit well with some parents.

The district said it did everything they could to make class happen Thursday. It worked out arrangements with the bus company to have them wait for students longer at stops so students could wait inside their homes. It also considered pushing the start time up an hour, but Thursday morning, the Superintendent erred on the side of caution and called school off.

For the second time this week, Decatur Public Schools were closed, and some students were mad about it.

"Because we've been out of school for like a month and there's really nothing else to do," said Takkearia King a student at Eisenhower High School.

But while students may have been bored, for parents, as Chris Hartwig described it, it's been chaotic.

"Yesterday [Wednesday] afternoon we got two phone calls stating that school was going to be in, that buses were going to be running a little slow and then we got another phone call that then they said they we're going to open the schools an hour early to accommodate parents to get their kids to school," Hartwig explained.

But then, none of that happened.

"It kind of seemed like they didn't know what they wanted to do," Hartwig.

Early Thursday morning, DPS announced that it would be closed.

"It wasn't going to work to get them back in school and not have them outside for a long period of time," said Gloria Davis Superintendent of Decatur Public Schools.

The district aims to make a decision by five in the morning.

"What we want to try to do is make these decisions as early as possible," according to Davis.

And these decisions take into account various factors like student safety, bus safety and the school calendar.

"As we add additional emergency snow days that we have to make up, that makes that June calendar even longer for us," Davis said.

Right now, grades Pre-K through eight end in May and high school ends in June. That could change, especially as forecasts call for low temperatures again next week, but as for Thursday, it was an inside day.

Other school districts, including Springfield District 186 and MonticellO, canceled school Thursday, as well. They take into account similar considerations like extreme temperatures, road conditions and of course, student safety. As for Friday, Decatur Public Schools said they are expected to have class.

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