11 Inches of Snow and No Bus Delay?

Nature Photography

The decisions by the administration at this school district never stops amazing me. Our community gets 11 inches of snow and the school says there will be no bus delay? Really? What were they thinking?

Does this community feel that 11 inches of snow is a no-brainer keep the same bus schedule or a two hour bus delay situation?

There was only about 3 to 5 inches of snow in Colville with deeper accumulations in the outlying areas. So since the city folk didn’t have any trouble getting to school, did they decide that it wouldn’t matter if the rural areas made it to school safely? Is that what they were thinking? This smells a lot like discrimination against some of the students in our district.

Not everyone has quick snow removal equipment. I have a friend that needs 9 hours to plow from their home to the highway. It takes us 3 hours to plow our driveway. We have to catch the bus at 7 am, so we would have to start plowing at 3:30 am to make the bus on time. We  were up at 5 am to plow which would have been plenty of time to make a 9 am bus.

If the school put in a 2 hour delay for the buses, like they normally do on a deep snow day, we could have made the bus at 9 am. But here’s the catch. They don’t put up the notice for the bus schedule until 7 am, which is long after rural people need to make decisions. So as hard as we worked to catch the bus, it seemed like the school chose to completely ignore the rural families.

Steven’s County Department of Public Works

aka “The Guys who Plow the Roads”

8488922849_50d4cf6a43_flickr.comDon’t take my word for it. We were very upset with having to drive in to town, so we stopped to talk to the Steven’s County Department of Public Works,  here’s their web page http://www.co.stevens.wa.us/publicwrks/

The people we talked to in their office were very upset that nobody from the Colville school district called them to ask about the road conditions. They were so upset that they had already called the school to make sure they had the contact information. The school assured them they did, but the Public Works people weren’t going to take their word for it and were in the middle of writing a letter to make sure the school had a written record of all their contact information.

It is important for the public to know that every other school district called into the Steven’s County Department of Public Works to check road conditions. The only school district that did not contact their office was Colville. Apparently Colville doesn’t seem to care about the safety of our community members. This includes, students, families, staff and teachers.

You see, these guys bust their behinds to clear the roads in time for the buses. As a matter of fact, they make a whole schedule around clearing the roads specifically for the school buses. They don’t just clear the highways, they have to clear up many county roads too. On Monday, January 5, 2015 they could not clear all the roads in time for the standard bus schedule so consequently, many buses made it to school late.

What that means is that there were many many many families who worked extra hard to get their kids to the bus stop only to;

1. Find out they missed the bus and their kids will either miss school or they have to drive them in.

– How would you like to be the family that worked their tail off to make the bus only to find out that you now had to double time it because you have to get ready for work AND drive the kids to school. I wonder how many people were late to work because of our schools decision.

2. Have their kids sitting on the buses for a much longer time before they reached the school.

– There were quite a few buses late to school.

3. Find out that the buses were traveling on dangerous road conditions.

– Un-plowed roads means dangerous conditions for the buses even when the use chains on their tires. I do not want my children riding a bus with dangerous road conditions. But I especially don’t want my children – or any children in this community riding a bus in a dangerous road condition that could have been avoided by a simple two hour delay of the buses.


So, now the question is who is in charge of making this decision? There are two people that I am aware of.

Kevin Mahugh is the Transportation Director who is in charge of the Bus system and Pete Lewis, our new Superintendent

Mr. Mahugh’s job is to assess the road safety and report it to Mr. Lewis who makes the final decision.

Now keep in mind that Mr. Lewis is such a superb superintendent that our school board said there was no contest. This man was exactly what this district needs; that he is a 5 star Superintendent for a 2 Star district. So Mr. Lewis could do no wrong when they were hiring him. They didn’t need to do a proper search or discuss his hiring with the community. He was the best around, no matter who they interviewed.


4361236488_674598dd8c_z_flickr.com– Did Mr. Mahugh assess the roads or his budget first. Was his decision based more on paying his bus drivers for two extra hours or more on the safety of the children?

– Did Mr. Lewis do his own research, or did he just take the word of Mr. Mahugh on this issue?

– Which of these gentlemen did a thorough job of researching the situation before making their decision?

– Why didn’t either one of them call the Steven’s County Department of Public Works for information about road conditions?

– If the school changes the schedule with a two hour delay, do they dock the hourly paid staff 2 hours, or pay them for a full day?

– If there is no two hour delay and the hourly staff is late to work, does the school dock them their pay for that time?

– What I really want to know is was this about the budget or about the safety of the students and staff?

– Which of these gentlemen put the safety of ALL the children and staff first?

My message to our school district:





Here is the colsd.org web page that explains snow days http://colsd.org/domain/61 :

Transportation Page

See those last two words on the page? DRIVE SAFE? Does the school know it’s a lot easier to drive safely AFTER the roads have been plowed?

I wonder how many teachers and staff had trouble making it to school on time … safely?

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