Snow days pile up, schools could pay a price

Snow days beyond the 6 built in to school calendars could cost thousands in Jefferson City district.

Icy roads and sidewalks closed some mid-Missouri schools on Monday, and with another winter storm bearing down on Tuesday the snow days are racking up in some districts.

Hazardous conditions can make getting to school a problem in rural areas, but in Jefferson City only two snow days have been used.

JCPS spokesman David Luther said it could get expensive if the district goes over it's state-mandated 6 built in snow days.

"I can tell you this much. It's going to be more than $200,000 a day, and that's based simply on the fact that our professional staff makes...that's how much we pay out in salary and benefits on a per diem for our entire staff. And that's just the professional staff. That doesn't include what we would spend for transportation, food services, etr. So there's some costs involved, and we have never had that happen."

So, how does the district make the call to cancel school?

Luther said the decision is all about student safety.

The timing of the storm can also play a big role.

"We've gotten better at this just because of technology. We can watch forecasts through your news service, through the internet...we talk to school officials in other schools that are in the same line of the storm. We also work very closely with city and county road crews. They can tell us a lot about what's going on and what to expect so we can make a pretty good decision in advance."

The Columbia public school district has 3 of their 6 allotted snow days, and will make them up through the end of May.