JCPS reveals what goes into decision to cancel or delay - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS reveals what goes into decision to cancel or delay

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Road conditions continue to create major problems across the region, as schools rack up snow days and counties struggle with depleting salt supplies.

Whether JCPS cancels, delays or lets school out early, everyone has an opinion about the call that school districts have been forced to make almost daily this winter.

JCPS says it had nine buses that got stuck in snow or ice Thursday. Each bus was able to get out and continue on the route, and no one was injured.

School officials say considering they had nearly 1,000 buses on the road, it's not an indication that they should have canceled school.

"Many of these are when a bus stops and it tries to re-start, and they can't get started," said Michael Raisor, chief operations operator for JCPS. "It's not as if we've had a bus careen into a ditch."

Raisor said decisions on cancellations or delays are made largely from driving evaluations done by transportation officials, and forecast.

"We know where the trouble spots historically are. So we look to identify those, and we notify families if we don't think we'll make it to their house," said Raisor. "We have a process and a protocol that we follow, and it was the same one this morning as it was the first day in December."

Raisor says with seven snow days already this year, the choice to cancel -- or delay -- is a thought-out process.

"It's the conversation we have every morning: can we get busses to and from school safely? Can kids get to the bus stop safely? Can they get home safely?"

JCPS realizes the decision will be criticized no matter what, but the district believes its decision-making process works well.

"Whether we have school, delay school, have an early dismissal, or we cancel school, somebody's not going to be happy," said Raisor.

And ultimately, safety comes down to road conditions.

In Metro Louisville, road crews haven't had to dip into their salt reserves and say they have enough salt for several more winter events. However, side roads don't get treated by city crews -- creating a problem for not only motorists, but school buses.

In southern Indiana, the harsh winter has depleted snow removal resources. Counties like Floyd, Clark, and Harrison say they are rationing their salt supplies.

"Without the salt, we are reliant on solar power so-to-speak," said Kevin Russel, engineer for Harrison County. He says with harsh winters across the country, salt is in high demand. "Everyone needs salt right now."

In Harrison County, salt supplies are almost gone.

"What we have left with the salt, we are trying to save for this upcoming weekend," said Russel.

The highway department is adding limestone chips and cinder to the salt in order to stretch the supply, but they say, even the mixture is one weather event away from running out.

"If it snows this weekend an inch or two like they're calling for, we'll probably be pretty close to out of the mix that we have with salt in it," said Russel.

Russel is expecting a shipment of salt to enter Jeffersonville later next week. However, there are no promises that they will receive salt from that shipment, because INDOT must have its delivery fulfilled first.

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