LETTER: Columbia Public Schools too quick to close for bad weather

Monday, February 28, 2011 | 8:41 p.m. CST

Editor's note: Laurie Lough sent this letter to Columbia Public Schools Friday in response to the school district closing school that day because of winter weather.

I have held off writing this type of letter for a few weeks, practicing patience and minding my own business; but at this point, I think it's necessary to make a statement.

The propensity of this school district to cancel school for the slightest indication of inclement weather is abhorrent. I recognize that we have had some record-breaking storms and even Mizzou shut down, an incredibly infrequent occurrence, but that does not account for all of the nine snow days in the last seven weeks plus the two days of early release because of weather. Over the last seven weeks, school has been in full session only 19 days or 54 percent of the weekdays. School has been canceled 26 percent of the time, closed early 6 percent of the time and out for scheduled holidays and work days 14 percent of the time. These numbers are absolutely ridiculous.

I'm not a working mother with child care issues, and I love my children and enjoy spending time with them. However, I don't enjoy trying to keep them on a consistent schedule and effectively home schooling and running day care part time because of the inability of the public school system to function properly. I don't enjoy waking up to text messages that school is closed knowing that a collection of working friends will soon be calling with babysitting requests. The world does not stop because the schools are closed. We all have to scramble to help each other and make things work.

I'm sure you are feeling the stress of lost time to prepare for standardized tests (another issue I care nothing about because my children are young and I dislike standardized tests as a rule) and increased costs of snow-related maintenance. As I said in the beginning, I have held off writing this for a long time, but enough is enough. The roads are fine today, and I'm stuck at home with an odd collection of children who are beginning to confuse which days are weekdays and which are weekend days, and I have to wonder why.

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