Friday, February 12, 2010

TOP STORY >> As snow melts, kids returning to school

Leader staff writer

Most students will not have Monday off as school calendars originally told them, thanks to the snow.

Cabot, Beebe, Searcy, Lonoke and Pulaski County Special School District students will be in session on what was originally a holiday for the students.

Besides making up snow days, Searcy is also dealing with the loss of a $1.25 million gym building that collapsed under the weight of the snow that fell on its high school campus.

“We are making the necessary adjustments with our PE class and basketball practices,” said Earl Watson, assistant superintendent. “It’s going very smoothly.”

Searcy students, who missed five days because of the snow, will have to go to class on Monday and the school year has been extended by four days, taking them from a last day of school on May 24 to finishing the year on May 28.

Beebe students, who have lost six days because of the snow, were supposed to be off Friday for parent-teacher conferences, but were called into class and will go Monday as well as on Good Friday, April 30. The school has also been extended from May 27 to June 2.

Beebe assistant superintendent Scott Embrey said attendance was normal on Friday. “The board made the decisions Wednesday night and we have an automated system to contact all the students,” he explained.

PCSSD has lost six days because of the snow and ice. At this point, Monday, which was originally listed as a staff-development day for teachers, with students off, will now be a regular school day.

The remaining snow days will be tacked on to the end of the school year, moving the last day from June 2 to June 8.

Cabot, which has to make up five days, will have students in on Monday. Students were out four days (Monday-Thursday) because of the snow and were scheduled to be out Friday for a staff development day. The district honored that day off, but took back Monday, which had been listed as a scheduled holiday.

Lonoke School District students missed school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, returning to school Thursday and Friday and anticipate going to school Monday, according to Superintendent John Tackett.

He said Lonoke workers cleared the school parking lots of snow and ice with equipment Thursday. The district buildings suffered no damage.

“This is the first time in the 15 years I’ve been here we even had to consider closing school for a real snow,” Tackett said. He said the snow days are tacked on to the end of the school calendar, but that some other options were being considered.

The make-up days are because the worst snowstorm to hit the area in 22 years closed most area schools for most of the past week. Many districts also lost a day or two of instruction in January.

The weather service is also calling for a chance of snow Sunday evening, although warmer temperatures should keep the snow and related problems to a minimum.

So much snow fell that the weight of it collapsed part of the overhang at the Citgo on Warden Road, off Hwy. 67/167 and destroyed the Smokey’s Pub sign and canopy about a mile further south down the road.

In Cabot, police kept watch Monday night at Whit Davis Lumber Plus after part of the roof collapsed from heavy snow build-up.

There were no injuries.

(John Hofheimer contributed to this report.)