OUR VIEW: More options needed before closing school

By Daily News • Last Updated 12:50 pm on Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It is no secret that this newspaper is a huge supporter of the local public schools.

There is much to admire about the way they do their business in the face of constant interference and mandates imposed on them by both the state and federal governments. We hear of new ideas, new programs and new technology that takes the job of teaching and the product of learning to a whole new level. They even stress the values of employability—responsibility, neatness, promptness and attendance. Our schools have moved well into a new decade in a relatively new century. But, the transportation to those places of learning has not.

It is also no secret that in Michigan we are susceptible to bouts of inclement weather that makes any type of transportation a challenge at best and sometimes virtually impossible. Snow, ice, flooded roads, fog, heavy winds with downed trees — at one time or another they probably all apply. Thus, the “snow day” or the “inclement weather day.” Used judiciously, we have no problem with the concept. But here we are on a Tuesday following a modest Thursday night snowfall and there have been three school days called — one presumably for the snowfall and two for the ice that followed. During that time, commerce has not stopped, mail and UPS packages are being delivered, the box store parking lots are full and the drive-through windows are all open. The paved roads are in good shape.

We fully understand that driving a school bus in the Michigan winter is no bargain and we do not infer that our children can be likened to a piece of mail or a UPS shipment. Only the best of care will do and nothing should be done to compromise their safety. But it seems to us that we really haven’t done enough here and canceling the school day is the easy way out.

The state has many criteria for funding schools. One of them is that on any given day, 75 percent of students must be in attendance in a district for that district to receive funding for that day. We suggest that Greenville consider a paved road- or main road-only policy for its bus routes on days that it makes sense to do so. An alternative could be the two-hour delay. Others do it! Map it out and set it up. Put the onus for a child’s attendance at school back where it belongs—with the parents. They surely must understand that the education of their children is paramount to that child’s future success, in school and in life. We think that they will embrace it!

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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