EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 16, 2014

Snow's challenges: Lost school days, trash pickup delays

HAVERHILL — More snow, again.

City officials said this winter’s string of snowstorms has created a slew of problems, from trash pickup delays to interruptions in classroom time to pressure on the snow removal budget.

And because of conflicting weather reports and the timing of some of these recent storms, school officials say it has resulted in delayed decisions as to whether classes should be in session or not.

A perfect example is what happened on Thursday, said School Superintendent James Scully, who waited until 5 a.m. to cancel school. He said that had to do with constantly changing weather reports.

He said he was on the phone at 4 a.m. to Methuen Superintendent Judith Scannell and Whittier Regional High Superintendent William DeRosa to discuss what they would do.

“Snow was predicted to start at 5 a.m., then it was noon, then at 2:30 a.m. it changed again, then at 5 a.m. the forecast said the snow would move in at 8 a.m.,” Scully said.

Scully said he notified the media 5:30 a.m. then notified parents and staff at 6 a.m. though an alert system. He said he waited until 6 a.m. to notify parents because some have complained about being woken up earlier than that. Scully sent out a Tweet at 5:45 a.m. to the many teachers and students who follow him.

With four snow days on the books as of Thursday, the last day of school has been moved to June 18, although that could change if more snow days happen.

Scully said the decision to cancel school is not taken lightly because it impacts many people. They include parents who may need to make child care arrangements, as well as early arriving staff such as school cafeteria workers, who must begin preparations long before the nearly 8,000 meals are served.

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