How The Twin Falls School District Decides Whether or Not to Call a Snow Day (WATCH)
If you think your job is tough, try being a school superintendent. How would you like to be the person making the judgment call on whether or not it's a snow day? The process is more difficult than you think.
I spoke with Twin Falls School Superintendent, Dr. Wiley Dobbs, about how they make the decision on whether to call off school or not. It involves coordination between multiple city and county agencies.
Dr. Dobbs - "We talk with law enforcement, both county and city. We check the weather. I feel like I'm good friends with weather people around the community. Last night, for example, because snow removal was a big issue, we went around to all the parking lots and all the schools to make sure there was access. We identified a couple of spots that needed a little more work and our guys with the plows went out at 3 this morning and kinda cleaned up some of the excess we had."
On whether one factor plays a more important role in deciding whether school in session...
Dr. Dobbs - " It's collective. Usually, it's snow and wind that will close schools. Ice is another one. If you have lots of factors, it's more likely that we'll have to close schools."
Dr. Dobbs also explained how the process is personal.
Dr. Dobbs - "We don't make snap decisions. We spend a lot of time with it. I'm up at 4:30. I get in my car and I drive around. We talk back and forth with our bus drivers, our bus company. They're out at the same time. So, there's quite a bit of work that we do behind the scenes before school starts and after it ends to get ready for the next day."
He also talked about some of the misconceptions that people have or don't understand about the process he goes through.
Dr. Dobbs - "Couple things that maybe people don't think about or maybe they do. One of the things that I hear a lot is that we just care about the money...that we have school so that we get paid. Actually, if we have school on a day and have worse attendance than our average, it actually kinda counts against us, so money is not a factor."
"Another thing that people may not think about...when we call school off, that causes issues for single parents or parents that are both working as far as child care. We have 66%, almost 2/3rd's of our students have free or reduced lunches at our schools. We have kids that would be home all day watching out for themselves without care in some cases."
Thanks to Dr. Dobbs for his time in explaining how his process works. Being a school superintendent is a tough job. Bottom line is if you have questions or concerns, contact the district office. You can find helpful information on their website at TFSD.org.