St. Michael-Albertville schools close and cause confusion

5:30 PM, Apr 11, 2013   |    comments
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ALBERTVILLE, Minn. - Under normal circumstances, the decision to close St. Michael-Albertville schools comes from the superintendent and is made around 5:00 a.m.  Thursday's snow storm, however, created a far from normal situation.

"So the kids went to the bus stop and they were on the bus and about 10-15 minutes [later] they came back and came in the house and said, 'No school,'" explained parent Carrie Loebertmann. "The bus driver turned around and said, 'We don't have school today.'"

It all came as a surprise to Loebertmann, who, fortunately, was working from home.  But she wondered what happened to other people's kids.

Her boys told her that some kids stayed on the bus and were returned to school where they waited for their parents to pick them up.

It was a chaotic way to start the day.

"While it's always a difficult decision when you have buses in place, I felt that it would be dangerous to have the buses continue on their routes," explained Superintendent Jim Behle.

Behle said when kids were being picked up, the snow started to fall harder, the wind whipped, and visibility for drivers decreased.

He felt it was too dangerous to continue on.

At this point, only the elementary kids were en route. Middle and high school kids were still at their homes.

Some parents were notified by a phone call, but Behle said the phone system wasn't working correctly.

"They're usually really good about notifying everybody, but I heard that they might have had a problem with their system and everything calling everyone," said Loebertmann.

The superintendent says the auto-dialer malfunctioned, so even with the late call, not everybody received it.

The district has fielded a number of complaints and says next time the situation will be handled differently.

"Absolutely, if students are on buses we will bring them to school and notify parents from there," said Behle.

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