Admins: Deciding whether to cancel school due to weather not easy

Administrators of North Texas school districts will be doing homework late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning to decide if classes should be canceled for a third day on Wednesday.

Several North Texas districts have told FOX 4 that they will make their decisions by 5 a.m. Wednesday, while some smaller districts will decide by 6 a.m.

Yet no matter big or small a district is, it's not an easy call to make.

"As always, it's timing," said Jon Dahlander with Dallas ISD. "What time is the storm going to arrive? How severe is it going to be when students and staff and parents are out on those roads?"

"It's kind of dicey to make that last-minute decision, because then families have to make that last-minute decision on where the students are going to stay and whether mom or dad actually goes to work that day themselves," said Clint Bond with Fort Worth ISD.

The state education calendar only factors in two snow days per year.         

"It's when you get more  than two that it becomes a game of moving things around and deciding what you're gonna do," said Bond.

Students must have one 180 classroom days.

"You get paid from the state based on children being at school, so that is a concern," said Bond.

The 2011 winter storm during the Super Bowl closed schools for almost a week. The T.E.A. granted waivers so districts didn't have to make up so many snow days.

"We would prefer not to have a third snow day, so we're going to be looking very closely to see if we absolutely have to have it," said Dr. Michael McFarland, Lancaster ISD superintendent.

Lancaster ISD feeds its students on snow days, including Tuesday.

"It's more than a day the parents will likely have to go back to work, so what will likely happen is we will have students that have to be home alone, and in some cases, without access to nutritional meals," said McFarland. "…We thought we would do this today and probably tomorrow, too, if we have to make the same decision."

Districts big and small say that a team of people makes the decision to call off school, usually after riding the roads themselves and mulling over other information from police and TxDOT officials.

They also consider whether the schools have heat and whether sidewalks and driveways on campuses are accessible or not because of ice buildup.

To see a full list of closings and delays, visit http://www.fox4news.com/category/238837/closings

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