School districts with rural routes face winter challenge
LICKING COUNTY, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- Forty-four-hundred students in the Licking Heights School District got an extra day off for holiday break Monday when school was canceled.
The severe winter conditions forced the district, as well as several others around Central Ohio to take the day off due to snow and icy road conditions.
With 37-square miles that encompass not only city, but several rural and outlying routes, district officials took no chances
"We have sections of our district that are far more rural with blowing snows an issue, and drifting snow at times" said Licking Heights School District superintendent Phil Wagner.
Wagner said the district is unique in that two thirds of it sits in Franklin County, the other third, in Licking County.
Seven different municipalities help keep roads safe for motorists and school buses.
Pataskala handles a bulk of the load, while outlying townships maintain areas less-traveled.
That can present a special challenge for bus drivers trying to navigate rural roadways.
"They get attention from the municipalities, but sometimes, it takes longer to get out there and more hilly sometimes too, so it's hard for the buses," Wagner added.
"They're going to hit city streets so it is what it is," said Jersey Township resident Donna Staubs, who chooses to drives her sons to school each day.
Wagner said instead of calling off school entirely, he often puts the district on two-hour delays to give plow operators extra time to focus on rural areas.
"They're farther out, no sidewalks, students aren't walking in those areas so, there's quite a few challenges" Wagner said.