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Chico ISD looks at options for next icy blast

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, December 21, 2013

Today is the first official day of winter, but area schools have already used up their allotted bad weather days – and then some – due to the recent winter storm.

Chico Superintendent Mike Jones said his school district is already looking at options for getting kids to school in the event of another snow or ice storm this winter.

One of the biggest issues with winter storms is that back roads and driveways are often left frozen and slick, making driving treacherous or even impossible. These conditions may linger even after major roads in the area are clear.

Jones said the district is looking at identifying designated pick-up points. If a parent can drive their student to that point, or if a student can safely walk there, the bus could avoid having to navigate icy roads. The locations would need to have an area where a vehicle can safely pull off the main road so as not to create a traffic hazard.

It might not be ideal in some areas, but Jones said if it is possible to have school, schools should be open.

“We’re considering trying this if it becomes necessary,” Jones said. “It beats calling off bus transportation.”

Jones said when he worked at a school in West Texas, one option they had was to run buses “on pavement only.” During the recent ice storm, a couple of schools ended up running limited bus routes, while Chico did not run any buses the first two days students returned to class.

Jones said about two-thirds of students attended classes that Wednesday through Friday, Dec. 11-13.

If the plan is enacted, Jones said the list of designated pick-up points will be sent to parents.

BOARD MEETING

Chico’s board of trustees met Monday and received positive news about their annual audit. Jones said it was an unqualified, “clean” audit.

Under personnel, Jones announced that high school counselor Evelyn Holt will be leaving at the end of the school year. The board agreed to post the job position now so that a new counselor could be hired as soon as possible to help with the transition and prepare for the 2014-2015 school year.

Also, Michele Constant was hired as a family and consumer sciences teacher for the high school beginning in January.

Recognition of student awards and honors for fall activities was postponed to the Jan. 20 board meeting.

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