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Green Bay School District officials defend third day of cancelled classes


GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Officials with the Green Bay Area Public School District are talking about the decision to cancel classes for the third straight day Wednesday.

Director of Facilities and Operations Al Behnke says it's the first time he could recall that schools would be closed due to weather for 3 consecutive days.

"We have to deal with the circumstances that are there and we believe we made the best decision possible, based on the information we had at the time," Behnke told the media during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Officials with Lamers Bus Lines told FOX 11 buses were ready to go in Green Bay Wednesday morning. But district officials say they erred on the side of caution, after learning Lamers did have some problems on Tuesday.

"Our contractors started vehicles and had a very difficult time with their diesel engines," said Behnke. "And if you look over the last couple days, you've seen semis, all kinds of diesel vehicles sitting alongside of the road idling because they don't have any power, once they start to gel up, so we were very concerned about reliability."

The Appleton Area School District also contracts with Lamers, and opened their doors to students on Wednesday. Still, Behnke remained steadfast in their decision.

"Well the one significant difference between Appleton and Green Bay today was Appleton already had a built-in two-hour late start, so I think they took advantage of that," said Behnke.

As for how the district is handling their calendar, they are making the following changes:

  • The annual built-in inclement weather day was used on Monday, January 6.
  • The cancellation of school on Tuesday, January 7 will result in the district's May 27 weather make-up day becoming a required school day for students.
  • To compensate for the third inclement weather day used on Wednesday, January 8, the last day for middle school students will be moved to Wednesday, June 11 (was originally Tuesday, June 10). The last day for elementary and high school students will be moved to Thursday, June 12 (was originally Wednesday, June 11).

"We went from having only one day to two days for inclement weather, and this is our first experience with two days," says Associate Superintendent Kim Pahlow. "So we'll kind of have to see where it goes and then re-evaluate."

Green Bay schools plan to hold classes on Thursday, since Lamers was working on getting the buses running Wednesday afternoon for those routes.