Crawford schools ‘made the correct call,’ superintendent says

jmink@macon.comFebruary 12, 2014 

Crawford County was the only school system in the core of the midstate that opened Wednesday, despite weather forecasts that called for potentially crippling ice.

It turned out to be the right call, officials say.

Crawford County schools will close Thursday due to predicted icy conditions, but roads were passable Wednesday morning and even by the time students went home, Superintendent John Douglas said.

Rain tapered off throughout the day Wednesday, and any ice accumulation was expected overnight with more precipitation and a drop in temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.

“We made the correct call, and we didn’t do it by ourselves,” he said, adding the school system worked with weather and emergency management professionals.

Most area schools decided to close Thursday.

It’s a difficult call for superintendents to make, and it’s often a no-win situation. For example, Douglas received several complaints about Wednesday’s decision, but people also would have complained if he had unnecessarily canceled school, he said.

It’s been an unusual winter for Middle Georgia, and schools have missed several days because of cold weather, snow and ice. School officials will soon decide how to make up those days, though they might not be required to make up any days. The state school board is considering a proposal that would exempt school systems from making up days missed during a declared state of emergency.

Still, different districts have canceled school for different reasons. For example, some school districts, including Bibb County, closed in January for extreme cold weather. Meanwhile others, such as Houston County, remained open.

In Crawford County, schools have closed in the past due to heavy rain, which floods the area’s dirt roads and makes them impassable. That was the biggest concern over the past couple of days, Douglas said.

And with more rain and lower temperatures predicted for overnight Wednesday and early Thursday, it was one of the reasons for canceling schools Thursday, he said.

“We don’t want to risk anything in the morning,” he said.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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