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Several factors go into TPS closure

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 12/09/2013 5:33 pm Published: 12/09/2013 5:28 pm

Tulsa Public Schools announced schools will once again be closed Tuesday.

FOX23’s Ian Silver looked into why the district canceled school, even though roads are clearing up.

The main roads are looking pretty good, but there are two main reasons they canceled school again: the bitter cold temperatures, and the fact that the neighborhoods and side roads still look like this.

“The side streets are so slick; I didn’t think the buses could get down them. But the main streets are awesome,” said Jennifer Mount, a parent.

Mount isn’t surprised her 13-year-old got to stay home again today from Thoreau Demonstration Academy and will again tomorrow.

Other parents were.

“I was kind of surprised. I figured we’d be in session today. But I guess because of the neighborhoods, maybe not,” said Colleen Gold, a parent.

“I can get around in my minivan. I don’t know how good the tires are on that. So, if I can get around fine a bus should just no problem,” said another parent, Alicia Jemmett.

Tulsa Public Schools spokesman Chris Payne said slick streets in the neighborhoods were a big part of the decision.

“The neighborhoods are fairly treacherous,” said Payne.

He said even the ice doesn’t just affect the buses. Even if buses can get through neighborhoods they have to make sure kids can safely get to the bus stops.

They also have to consider how cold it is when the kids get there and are waiting for the bus.

“Wind chill very much plays a part,” said Payne.

Something Mount worries about, too.

“Especially if their parents work and they have to be at work at time and they have to walk to the bus, it would be really cold,” said Mount.

Gold, a former teacher, doesn’t think that should keep kids home.

“I think it’s kind of the parents’ responsibility to bundle up the kids, and they should be able to…I think they should be able to wait for a bus for a little bit,” she said.

Payne said that takes a lot more planning than can be done in one day, so for now, the district has to focus on what’s most important.

“There are so many things in consideration. The bottom line, though, is safety of the kids,” said Payne.

Because the city was able to get main roads cleared on Saturday, they did spend 12 hours working on clearing and dropping sand on a lot of residential side streets.

The city is are no longer paying overtime to crews to work around the clock, so at this point, they are just responding to side streets, especially those with big hills, when it’s absolutely necessary.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 12/9/2013 7:28 PM
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