So far this year, students in Lincoln County have missed eight days of school because of bad weather, but in some cases, the schools were closed because just a few roads were unsafe for bus travel. Back roads, such as Fishing Creek Road in the Kings Mountain community, often have conditions that many, who live on main and secondary roads in Lincoln County, do not often see. Conditions such as these have caused the district’s school transportation department to dismiss school on some days when a majority of other roads are clear.
The Board of Education has called for a “Plan B” to be developed that would allow school to be in session on such days; when implementing “Plan B” some bus routes would not be run. Consequently, those students living on those routes would not have transportation for that day. For example, on Monday, Jan. 10, buses did not complete routes on Turkey Foot Road or Old Fall Lick Road in the Crab Orchard district. In the Waynesburg Elementary School district, buses did not run on Hurricane Hill, Broughtontown School Road or G.T. Reynolds Road. Twenty-one total students were impacted but many of those parents made sure the students were transported to school. If students were not able to get to school on their own, the absence was excused and make-up work provided by the school.
The purpose of implementing a “Plan B” for the district is to get as many school days in before June; Lincoln County School District Director of Pupil Personnel Bruce Smith said, “Although, some students are forced to miss school when transportation is not in full operation, we have found that student attendance is down when we go into June.”
“Plan B” will be discussed by Transportation Director, Ronnie Deatherage, at the Jan. 13 board meeting. “The planning phase has just started,” said Deatherage, “but we hope to try it out sometime this year. We have met with the County Road Department for their suggestions and input, and the School Transportation Team will begin planning details on the next Staff Work Day.”
Smith said that the district’s attendance policy allows students who can’t be picked up by their school bus to receive an excused absence.
As of Tuesday, students will have to attend school until May 26, but Smith said that the board is going to look at using one of the staff work days as a make up day. There are three planned staff work days remaining in the school year. The district used half of the state’s five allowed emergency hours when students were sent home early last Friday.