The dangerous wind chills kept many students at home on Wednesday, but some parents upset and say Buffalo Public Schools are waiting too long before deciding to cancel school.
Windchills were between -15 and -25 around 5 a.m. on Wednesday, but it wasn’t until the 6 a.m. cutoff that Buffalo School Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown made the decision to close city schools. She says she thought the weather was going to improve.
“It was our understanding that the conditions were changing, expected to change, and that was what we were monitoring,” she said. “We adhere to the procedures that have been in place for the last several decades.”
By the time many of the news media outlets posted the closing it was about 6:15 a.m. Some students who attend early classes at West Buffalo Charter School were scheduled to have been waiting for the early buses to pick them up at 6:12.
School leader Andrea Todoro had her staff begin making emergency calls to families.
“I immediately had some members divvy up some phone numbers of students that had earlier bus pickups, those that were before 6:30, and ask that they call those families and make sure that they are aware that there was no school,” Todoro said.
Board president Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold said, “I know that board members are concerned about this particular incident, and that some board members received calls early at home as well from parents who were upset and whose children were out waiting for the buses.”
Superintendent Brown says she realizes decisions will have to be made in the future before 6 a.m. At Wednesday night’s meeting, she announced the new cutoff to make a decision to close the schools is 5:30 a.m.
“I will agree it’s not ideal to send that kind of information out at that time, and we have reviewed our procedures,” Brown said. “I had a meeting with my staff this morning and we reviewed that and took a closer look at those bus route and schedules and as a result, we have made a commitment that from this point on we will send that notification by 5:30 a.m. at the latest.”