Here’s why Davenport had classes, dismissed early

2013-03-06T03:15:00Z 2013-03-06T14:16:10Z Here’s why Davenport had classes, dismissed earlyTara Becker The Quad-City Times
March 06, 2013 3:15 am  • 

While dozens of schools across the Quad-Cities called a snow day Tuesday, Davenport Community School District opted to stay open, at least for a few hours.

It was a decision that got mixed reactions from parents and grandparents who trekked through the snow and, later, slush to drop off and pick up students.

“I know kids need to go to school, but when the weather is bad, it’s bad,” said Jennifer Boyd, whose 14-year-old daughter attends West High School.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning with an estimated daytime snow accumulation of 5 inches. The snowfall slowed significantly by the time school let out, however, and the roads became slushy as the snow melted.

Cindy Broadie, a teacher at Villa Montesori School in Moline, had the day off Tuesday. Her 14-year-old son and her husband, Dave, a physical education teacher at Jefferson Elementary School in Davenport, weren’t so lucky.

Broadie said that it’s rare for Davenport schools to be open while those in the Illinois Quad-Cities are closed, but that the other districts might have jumped the gun when it came to calling a snow day.

“It’s hard for (administrators) to make that decision,” she said.

In a post on its Facebook page, the Davenport district said that when it comes to declaring a snow day, “The most important consideration is the safety of our students and staff. We also want to give our families as much notice as possible to allow them time to make childcare arrangements if school is closed.”

According to the post, the district said it uses a “deliberate process to make decisions on closing schools due to weather events.”

Officials begin the process at 3:30 a.m. by driving around city and county roads. Superintendent Art Tate said he keeps an eye on the roads and how often they will be plowed and keeps in contact with the National Weather Service to monitor snowfall radars.

He also stayed in contact with superintendents in surrounding districts. While travel might have been slow, the roads appeared to be OK Tuesday morning, Tate said.

“I thought that the routes would be safe and buses would be safe and people could travel safely on the roads,” he said.

Based on the district’s size, officials need to make a determination by 5 a.m. to give parents enough of a heads up, Tate said.

By mid-morning, Tate decided to dismiss classes two hours early and canceled all night activities.

He did so out of concern for high winds estimated at 30 mph, which kicked in about noon.

Parents were able to decide whether to keep their kids home because of weather concerns. Those students will receive an excused absence, district spokeswoman Dawn Saul said.

Saul said there were no issues with bus transportation either in the morning or after school let out.

There have only been two snow days in the district this year.

Jon Wiley, who has students at West, Wilson Elementary School and Williams Intermediate School called the decision to keep school open “ridiculous.”

“With every other school doing it, it just doesn’t make any sense,” he said.

Debby Jackson of Davenport said she had no problem getting to West to pick up her grandchild Tuesday afternoon. Jackson said the roads looked fine when she left for work around 9 a.m.

Some parents said it would have made more sense to delay school by a couple of hours to let the snow die down.

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(40) Comments

  1. Ba'Rock yo Momma
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    Ba'Rock yo Momma - March 10, 2013 8:59 am
    #Who cares
  2. JAK
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    JAK - March 09, 2013 1:50 am
    So I grew up and attended k-12 in this area. I now attend school in southern Wisconsin, not that far north of the QC. I was showing people from Wisconsin our news sites when this "storm" was about to hit. They were amazed that we would worry so much about 5' of snow!! Drive slow and deal with it. It's the Midwest, it snows.
  3. MRM
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    MRM - March 07, 2013 8:27 am
    As a parent you have the option on such a day to send or not send your child to school. The real question is why most of you choose not to make that decision whether it was safe or not? Most of you just who are whining just wanted to whine and blame someone else for lack of you making a decision, whether it was safe or not to send your child to school. What will they do when they have to get out in the weather to go to work, when they are adults? Maybe they will whine like their parents and get fired from their jobs when they don’t show up. Hey I am just saying. Don’t get angry at anyone else for your lack of decision making. You live in Iowa for peat sake it is going to snow.
  4. Orpheus
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    Orpheus - March 05, 2013 11:02 pm
    It's more than an issue of popularity. Davenport did not make their decision based off of current conditions, nor the forecast - in fact, they did quite the opposite. If they did, then SCORES of other school district are guilty of NOT paying attention to current conditions or the forecast. The bottom line is that a Winter Storm Warning was issued for the Scott County area. The snow started early in the morning and was forecast to last most of the day (which it did). Students in outlying areas were NOT considered. If they were, the reference the Superintendent uses should no longer be referenced or fired for placing the students of the entire school district in jeopardy. To compound the poor decision, the district elected to release the students two hours early. ANYONE looking at a radar could easily tell that the snow was coming to an end and the plows would have ample opportunity to clear the roads for normal dismissal time. Releasing two hours early was the WORST POSSIBLE CHOICE. Once again, whomever is being referenced to make this decision is obviously incapable and the entire process is short of logic. BUT, instead of using this as a learning experience - we're going to talk about what happened when we were kids. We're going to talk about how wrong the forecast was. The REAL bottom line is that the school district HOLDS a REAL responsibility for keeping our children safe. The reason why the Quad CIty media is covering this is because most feel that TWO bad decisions were made today - and both need to be addressed.
  5. Hawkeye2300
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    Hawkeye2300 - March 05, 2013 10:47 pm
    Your husband needs a new car if he had trouble in this....this was minimal snow fall.....are you a California resident or what? ....I'm sure you haven't lived here long...this was nothing but a big joke.....
  6. CGE
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    CGE - March 05, 2013 9:46 pm
    KT - 10 days isn't a few and IL is already AFU so... I know, used to live there :)
  7. Hawkeye2300
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    Hawkeye2300 - March 05, 2013 9:02 pm
    All the schools made a bad decision.....teaches the kids a horrible lesson for later in life under Minimal Snow Conditions...in the real world they can't skip work due to snow...their parents might if they are lazy
  8. Davenport Dude
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    Davenport Dude - March 05, 2013 8:55 pm
    Everyone needs to realize that the decisions made by administrators aren't going to be popular to everyone. My wife and I even questioned why PV cancelled classes today. In hindsight, Davenport looked the smartest. They made their decision base on existing conditions, not the forecast. The important thing to remember is that in years passed, these decisions would be a "non-issue" because the newspapers wouldn't publish stories that questioned the decisions. At the end of the day, parents need to decide what is best, safest for their children. QCTIMES, continued shame on you!
  9. Hawkeye2300
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    Hawkeye2300 - March 05, 2013 8:53 pm
    This community is a joke when it comes to weather.....the news coverage is insane....I grew up in NE Iowa where more kids came from rural settings, unlike here... I can remember about 5 days in over 10 years of school that it was cancelled.....this is Iowa in December-March...it snows!! Deal with it, lazy parents love it because it gives them an excuse not to work and calling off school today, and most days is ridiculous.....

    Funny how all these world ending snow storms never seem to happen....no coincidence that a lot of the public officials who make calls like this are Democrats....perception is reality....
  10. North to Alaska
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    North to Alaska - March 05, 2013 7:06 pm
    I'm a former Davenport resident, 30 years in Alaska. Drove school bus for 15 years in Fairbanks, Ak. We had ZERO snow days in that 15 years. 2 rain days, when freezing rain hit road surfaces cooled to -50 F. School was optional at -50 F and colder. I drove many days at official temp of -47 F, usually colder in the low lying areas. Ice fog in Fairbanks city proper would reduce visibility to 300 feet or less. I was sometimes consulted as to whether the buses should run. It is a tough call. We always considered the worst driving conditions as anytime snow was falling with temps near freezing, (much like this Davenport snow storm). The snow packs quickly to an icy glaze.

    School officials up here often considered whether it would be safer for the kids to be in school or home alone, maybe feeding a woodstove without a parent to supervise, and err on the belief they will be safer in school. I think the comments sound whiny. What happened to the Midwest grit and backbone? As a comparison to what you're dealing with, we had a freezing rain event in December, and that ice is still on the roads in many places. You whine because you have ONE day of tough driving conditions? Try it for a 6 month stretch. Happy in Alaska
  11. Badgerbacker
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    Badgerbacker - March 05, 2013 7:00 pm
    Why not Davenport? Because it wasn't that bad. It's possible that many of the other schools were wrong, though every school district is different. Just because everyone else cancels school doesn't mean we have to here in Davenport. I think Dr. Tate made the right call today and it took courage to be different from everyone else.
  12. KT
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    KT - March 05, 2013 6:43 pm
    They do after 10 missed days, even when you have doctor notes for those days. in Illinois.
  13. t34
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    t34 - March 05, 2013 6:12 pm
    For those criticizing the decisions of other districts to cancel because "the roads weren't that bad," please remember that many of those districts run a huge fleet of busses to pick up children who live on gravel and secondary roads; busses that run very long routes even on a good weather day. Every district is different and that needs to be remembered.
  14. thelastoftherationals
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    thelastoftherationals - March 05, 2013 4:57 pm
    Oh my. Parents will take their kids out of school for vacation, but god forbid they have to go pick them up two hours early. Did you not know this was part of parenting?
  15. Always right
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    Always right - March 05, 2013 4:10 pm
    All it did was cause more problems by letting out early because then people had to drive through the bad conditions a second time . Attendance was down by a 3rd because some parents were smarter then Superintendent Tate.
  16. anamarie11
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    anamarie11 - March 05, 2013 4:09 pm
    I was surprised this morning to hear Davenport hadn't cancelled school. But when I drove to work, the main roads were completely clear and only got better after that (driving home at lunch). The snowplows have done a great job of keeping the main roads clear and putting plenty of salt down. I'm surprised now that any schools in the local QC were cancelled. It's not that bad out.
  17. JS824
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    JS824 - March 05, 2013 4:02 pm
    So let's round up all the kids and make them go to school in the middle of a storm, and then let them out early when the weather clears up. Only in Davenpit.
  18. CGE
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    CGE - March 05, 2013 2:48 pm
    Unless you definitely know something more than what was stated in this article than he can't be accused of being negligent. It was a judgement call, maybe wrong, maybe not. I've been in this situation and it can be a tough call especially when the media exaggerated the weather and the forecast is often incorrect.
    His salary has nothing to do with this and is consistent with others. School principals have much more influence over your children everyday, you should be directing this time towards them. This was one day, in which you could choose a different outcome if you wanted, heck I know our children have missed days here and there for less important reasons. If they walk to school they have risks everyday.
    It's snow, get over it.
  19. Sally Jo
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    Sally Jo - March 05, 2013 1:52 pm
    Have to wonder just what neighborhood he lives in, because the inner city was dangerous and there were a lot of cars in the ditches this morning. I believe Tate's reckless arrogance in not canceling is yet another sign of his need for a reality check. This isn't the first time that this $195,000 + a year superintendent has screwed up. I'm hoping no one was seriously injured by his negligence.
  20. iowalittledog
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    iowalittledog - March 05, 2013 1:48 pm
    Just Joe; Great comment and I respect your opinion, but one question for you. Was the snow that much worse in Bettendorf? Did Bettendorf make a bad decision?
  21. Just Joe
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    Just Joe - March 05, 2013 1:25 pm
    Superintendent Tate, great call this morning! I was out and about and around early this morning. The roads had snow on them but the snow did not present an increased risk. Just normal winter driving. I was happy to see you use your judgement and not follow the heard. Cancelling school everytime we have some snow fall is not preparing these students for the real world. I can not simply not go to work when I don't like the road conditions! No employer would put up with workers who decided every little snow event was an excuse to miss work. This is the mid-west, all of us have to know how to get around safely in the snow. The real world does not shut down when there is a snow fall. The real world does continue to function. Great call!
  22. CGE
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    CGE - March 05, 2013 1:12 pm
    Sorry but officers don't knock on your door for a few missed days...
  23. Rhonda D
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    Rhonda D - March 05, 2013 1:03 pm
    A 2 hour delay is what would have been appropriate. To give the district/city time to provide safer conditions to get the children to school. I understand that I live in the Midwest and this is to be expected..but safety first. That's what our kids get taught, that their safety should be #1. I love the snow and would have preferred the kids spend the day home with me, but as far as having a choice to send them to school or not due to safety concerns, true, I do have a choice, but you obviously haven't had the truant officer knock on your door for a few missed day's.
  24. iowalittledog
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    iowalittledog - March 05, 2013 12:56 pm
    Okay one more comment. Let say the road were not that bad, how many kids walk to school in the road? How many of you had the sidewalk clear at 7am? In life like football when in doubt you punt! Better safe than sorry! Yes we got away with it this time, but we all know it's just a matter of time before some kids gets killed walking to school on a heavy snow day. Then to make matter even worse, two hours after school starts they announce early out. So now parents have to scramble. They could have announce early out this morning.
  25. MK
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    MK - March 05, 2013 12:53 pm
    What is up with the whining? I drove from Davenport to Blue Grass to Rock Island without any problem at all. I don't have a 4x4, only front wheel drive. I listened to the school closings on the way to work this morning and couldn't believe all of the schools that closed. The roads weren't really that bad. If you didn't like his decision, don't send your kids.
  26. electrify88
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    electrify88 - March 05, 2013 12:30 pm
    I agree with Mr. Tate completely. He said he went out and checked and reviewed information from the weather service. No one's life was in danger. If you needed to leave for work/school a little early, nothing wrong with that, you live in the midwest! Why cancel school every time there's a snowflake? What are we teaching children when we cancel every time there's a "hardship"? How are they going to get out of bed and go to work when they are adults if they can't handle it. Adults need to learn to drive in snow, period. (You live in the midwest.) I left for work at my normal time and got there just fine. Drove slow and steady. I'm glad Mr. Tate did not follow the other superintendents. We are all getting too soft and lazy! Go ahead and complain if you must, you won't like it when the kids don't get out of school early enough in the summer either!
  27. Editorial Bored
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    Editorial Bored - March 05, 2013 12:03 pm
    As a person who was up at sun up moving snow all morning, I can tell you that this decision was one of having no feet on the ground. Even the schol crossing guard was luging a shovel.
    If the City of Davenprt had a finely tuned snow removal plan that allowed for back to back snow storms, the buses and kids might have gotten around. But as it is, the City of Davenport doesn't have that.
    It was a long time in the morning before I saw a snow plow and it wasn't until about 11:20 in the morning that the weather broke to the point of mobility.
    It is all in the details..
  28. CGE
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    CGE - March 05, 2013 11:56 am
    In touch with other super's is clearly untrue since everyone else cancelled. Although we cancel school too easily now. The bunch of whiners would've complained if there was no snow and no school. Can't win but don't worry it will be the same 1500 voters come election time for the school board. It's just easier to pull out a cell phone and complain on a forum!
  29. Weasal
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    Weasal - March 05, 2013 11:55 am
    He's absolutely right except o need for early dismissal. It's just a other day people. Get a grip!
  30. Rhonda D
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    Rhonda D - March 05, 2013 11:48 am
    Wondering if he stuck his head out the door and actually looked at the amount of snow or even took a spin around the block to see how well his car reacted...The bus's were running 20 minutes or more late for their stops, while our children stood in the cold and waited for them on close to a curb at crossing of slick road conditions...so then we figure the bus isn't coming and drive them to school only to have an obstructed view of plow trucks busily trying to clear the school streets where children are crossing the road, and then you have the poor custodian snow blowing a snow blower width path for kids to make it into the school without breaking their neck..Did that man make it to work today?
  31. iowalittledog
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    iowalittledog - March 05, 2013 11:47 am
    KKNurse: yea right
  32. kg
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    kg - March 05, 2013 11:46 am
    Is the name calling really necessary???? I don't envy his decision making responsiblity one bit. He is vilified if he cancels and crucfied if he doesn't. Give him and everyone else a break from your name calling. If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all. YOU didn't HAVE to send your kid(s) to school, YOU HAVE that right so exercise it!
  33. RG1204
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    RG1204 - March 05, 2013 11:43 am
    Look at his pic and you can tell how old he is...he's one of those who walked to school rain or shine, snow or no snow...with this said, I agree with the previous comments, an asinine decision, my sister-in law is a teacher in Davenport, she had to leave at 6:30 this morning in a carpool just to make it, to be able to spend an 4 hour school day, then after it's back home again in the carpool when the snow is coming down again, not only does he not care for the welfare of the children and bus drivers, he doesn't care for the welfare for his employees who work for him.
  34. CMC26
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    CMC26 - March 05, 2013 11:43 am
    Hes worried about the winds starting at noon! WOW makes a whole lot of sense, so have all of us out getting our kids at 12:45 and 1:45. Right in the middle of the high winds he is talking about. Having the busses traveling during this makes even more sense! His contact with other superintendents made a well educated decision! Now he has jepordized all the childrens lives that life it the davenport community! We should let him continue to make these decisions for our childrens future!!!!
  35. DarkMystyk
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    DarkMystyk - March 05, 2013 11:40 am
    So let me get this straight, the fact that my husband in a 4 wheel drive had trouble getting to work is reason to send the kids to school. I'm sorry but i'm not risking my life and the lives of my kids so that they don't have to have one extra day in school. And did he go out and drive those roads out in the outlying area's of the area? NOT. And now they are dismissing classes 2 hours early due to wind? hmmmm yeah i don't think so.
  36. MrBill
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    MrBill - March 05, 2013 11:39 am
    well educated, but not intelligent.
  37. KKNurse
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    KKNurse - March 05, 2013 11:38 am
    as a parent, you do realize you don't have to send your child to school if you feel it is unsafe...just saying.
  38. Ba'Rock yo Momma
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    Ba'Rock yo Momma - March 05, 2013 11:37 am
    Not a snowball chance in h he went out and determined the roads were good, the trash men were using chains on their trucks...Heres's your sign
  39. 1of3
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    1of3 - March 05, 2013 11:25 am
    They think it would be smarter to risk the lives of children on roads that were NOT clear this morning. The roads are better now than they were this morning!
  40. iowalittledog
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    iowalittledog - March 05, 2013 11:11 am
    Silly, stupid and what ever other word I can use. If every other school was canceled, why not Davenport? Parents now have to really scramble to get kids home. So what if kids had to go an extra day when it's hot out? Again people who have the most education continue to prove that education alone does not make you smart, you must also have common sense. If the visibility is going to be bad starting at noon, which they should have known, then why take a chance? it appears other school districts used common sense. Why would we subject parents to an extra two trips in the snow attempting to get kids to and from school. Using the big picture, closing the schools today would not impact kids future, if it did the kid didn't use the other 179 days of school.
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