First major snowfall leads to school adjustments

BROOKFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – The Brookfield Local School District is one of two Valley school districts that closed Monday because of the wintry conditions.

Brookfield Superintendent Tim Saxton said school officials considered a number of factors, with safety being the main concern.

Saxton said he checks the forecast and goes out on the roads himself. He also talks with his staff as well as local and state road crews and police for their input. He said they consider bus routes, as well as those who drive to school, including students, teachers and parents dropping their kids off.

“We take a look and see what the road conditions are at the time, what they may be in the future. All those factors play out. I think a lot of it has to do with the typography of your districts,” Saxton said.

The district’s K-12 building actually ran on a generator during the morning after a nearby accident knocked out power.

“About the time when students would have been arriving on a two-hour delay, we lost power here and it’s still down. I think we made the right call,” Saxton said.

The power did come back on around 11:30 a.m.

Brookfield is one of the districts in the state that still goes by snow days and not calamity hours.

“When the legislature changed it, they indicated that districts who collectively bargain their school calendars with their teachers union do not have to switch to the hours system until the next time they collectively bargain,” Saxton said. “We will be looking to make that change here in the spring to hours and that will play into how we do certain things, but realistically for me it’s not going to be a big decision in terms of how I make the day to day decisions on student safety and well being in terms of closing or staying open.”

Saxton is already thinking ahead to Tuesday morning, with negative wind chills in the forecast.

“Is everything going to freeze over? We look at what the wind chill factors will be and how many students we have standing at the school bus and once again, that all hits, so each situation is different. Each superintendent looks at all those different factors to make the best decision for the safety of the students,” Saxton said.

The other district that used a snow day was South Range.

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