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Posted on Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

Ann Arbor school officials stand by decision to keep district open Friday

By Danielle Arndt

Ann Arbor parent Ken Clark said he drove his Skyline High School student and two of her friends to school Friday after the students' bus didn't arrive at Northside Elementary to pick them up. The students waited for 40 minutes before they called Clark to come get them, he said.

"I assume the bus eventually came," he said. "But the roads on our side of town were terrible. It was a mess. Not a single roadway I drove on was anything but packed snow."

He said he wishes Ann Arbor schools would have closed as did every other public school district in Washtenaw County Friday, after a winter storm left 1 to 2 inches of snow and a glazing of ice on area roads. Most private and charter schools also called off classes.

Clark was far from alone in his opinion. Ann Arbor school officials got dozens of complaints from parents Friday about their decision not to call off classes because of the weather. But a district spokeswoman said they still believe they made the right call.


Children enjoy sledding in this file photo. Most Washtenaw County public, private and charter schools were closed Friday because of wintery weather and slick roadway conditions — except the Ann Arbor Public Schools. file photo

"We got some very reasonable complaints, we got some downright angry complaints and calls from people thanking us for staying open," said Liz Margolis, director of communications. "… If we'd closed, we probably would have gotten the same amount of calls. We're damned if we do, damned if we don't."

Margolis said all students got to school safely, although some preschoolers arrived about two hours late because the weather kept bus drivers from coming to work. Some high school buses were also late, a transportation official said.

Margolis said district officials had been monitoring the roads all night and facilities crews had cleared parking lots and sidewalks. The district was confident students could get to school safely, she said.

Though roads in the Ann Arbor area were judged to be passable, about 15 bus drivers for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, which provides transportation for Ann Arbor, Willow Run and Ypsilanti schools, were forced to call in absent because of the weather, said WISD Transportation Director Thomas Moore.

The shortage of bus drivers resulted in Ann Arbor Public Schools officials mandating a two-hour delay for some students at the Ann Arbor Preschool and Family Center.

Margolis said only a small number of special education students attend the district's preschool program on Fridays, and an even smaller number of these students ride the bus. Because some drivers called in, the three preschool bus drivers had to fill in on regular routes and then pick up the students to take them to the family center, Moore said.

Margolis said only about 16 children were affected and all of their parents were notified.

Moore said when county transportation officials were out assessing the roads at about 4:30 a.m., they determined there was approximately 3 inches of snow on the ground in the northern parts of the county.

"There was about 1 inch in the I-94 corridor. It was snowing very lightly. The roads were not plowed and were still untreated, but there were still a few more hours before school started," Moore said. "Typically, with 1 to 3 inches it does not impede bus traffic. So our recommendation was the weather conditions were not going to impede the buses."

He added this was the message communicated, but the superintendents and other school officials are responsible for making the snow day call that is best for their specific districts.

"We always look at student safety first," Margolis said. "People may disagree with us or say teen drivers shouldn't be out in the weather. And if there is an inexperienced driver, that has to be a parental decision. … It is always the parents' right to make the decision that is best for their student."

Some parents did keep their children home from school Friday morning. But Margolis said anecdotally, attendance rates do not appear to be abnormal. Specific attendance data would not be available until Monday, but building officials usually get in touch with Margolis if their school has a high number of students absent, she said.

There were some teachers who live outside of Ann Arbor, where their residence-determined districts were closed because of slick driving conditions, who had to call in. "But again, nothing abnormal," Margolis said.

Clark, the Ann Arbor parent, said he knows deciding whether to close school can be a tough call.

"I'm just not sure why Ann Arbor was still reluctant when everybody else agrees," Clark said.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 10:57 p.m.

@Danielle and -- is it true that the superintendent works a four-day week and returns to PA on the weekends? If the school board has approved this as part of her contract, I would like to know why. If she is gone every Friday, then who is in charge on Fridays? Is the superintendent ever at any school functions on Friday-Sunday? I hope will look into this. This is not the first time this has come up from different commenters.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

I recall a previous (maybe a year or two ago) article about someone traumatized because the distinct called the home too early to cancel school, waking the family earlier than usual. At least that crisis was avoided - tough crowd!

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

The director of communications uses "damned?" Extremely unprofessional. Cue the accusations of a prude, but I'm talking about professional communications here, not persona life.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

Throwing my vote in with those who supported the school's decision to stay open. We're getting way too wimpy as a culture. 20 years ago, there wouldn't have been much discussion about whether schools should stay open or not. It was only a few inches of snow.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

It was stupid -- really appreciated driving in freezing rain. Thank you.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

This is Michigan. It's part of the north.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

No school in Monroe county today, more ice than snow. Road conditions were icy but a delay would have been more appropriate than a cancellation. Maybe Ann Arbor could have done the same. But to cancel school was an over reaction for a lot of districts.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 8:39 a.m.

No Ms . Margolis : People did not arrive safely . I watched 22 accidents 9 of which were outside or by the school the school my children attend . I point blank after your last life and death drive of 2 hours and 38 minutes not only told the school and you. I will no longer put myself or my children in deaths way again nor should you expect your teachers lives to be endangered .Your schools have 1-2 people scrapping ice off sidewalks not even on time parking lots not even cleared at all pure ice. What is wrong with you and why do you even still have a job you make the worst decisions and calls on all issues . You do not have the right to legally put parents and there children in harms way.I would like to see the history of Ms.Margolis all the bad calls . We as parents should not tolerate this anymore. Our Superintendent well you need to get up have you read your own rules . I was up it was freezing rain. Teachers were hours late So parents next snow call in your child do not put your life your children life at stake for improper reasoning of stupidity. Also if you could post yes they actually have a legal protocol on Ann Arbor Exceptional schools that begins at 2 am .Not all of us have the luxury working 2-3 jobs to by a hummer or a truck to get our children safely to school when you cannot even clear the ice for the children to walk up the sidewalks to the doors? Hey Danielle statistics of accidents call in around the schools the last 2 snow falls I saw 20 plus and quit counting and it took me 2 hours 38 minutes to safely return home as 2-6 car pile ups are happening around me.We as parents need to stand together and everyone else called off accept good old Ann Arbor! We need a parent contract if we are harmed , our vehicles damaged , maimed , hit, dismembered because of Ms Margolis reasoning then the Ann Arbor School system shall be responsible for our losses put us and our children in harms way !

Chester Drawers

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

Lisa, Do you honestly believe that Liz Margolis makes the decision about closing schools? She is just the poor messenger who is killed over and over by folks who disagree with the decisions made by others.

Ricardo Queso

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 6:18 a.m.

The superintendent lives in PA? Is this true?


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 5:17 p.m.

Confusion reigns on the domicile of our Superintendent. . . and her perceived investment and commitment to the community she serves. . . I don't doubt she has some form of abode here. . . but I still beleive it is a fair request/concern, in the spirit of full transparency of our public officials, for the AA school administration to clearly bring the speculation to an end by issuing a press release. . . or for that matter for the Superintendent to publicly declare her commitment to this community, and to cite her actions in support of the position.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

No. She used to, and still has aging parents in PA. It is also not true that she doesn't work on any Fridays in order to visit her parents in PA, though my understanding is that she does travel there once a month or so.

Urban Sombrero

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:58 a.m.

Look, AAPS, keep the schools open if you MUST. BUT....make sure the buses are on time! It's unfair to make kids wait outside, unsure if their bus is coming, for what? 15, 25, 40 minutes past the time it's due? In snow and sleet and freezing rain? That is CRUEL! Keep the schools open? FINE. But make sure the buses are on schedule. If you can't do that then, close down. It's only fair. Kids should not be made to suffer because the roads suck and the bus drivers cannot safely traverse them. And, yeah, I was one of the parents who made a "downright angry" call to Liz Margolis/Balas/the overpaid Superintendant/etc. I take offense when my kids bus doesn't show up. When she falls on her tuchis walking to the bus stop and hurts herself. When I go to take her (and her brother who's on a reduced schedule) to the school and have to spend a half hour chipping ICE off of my car. When I get a quarter of the way to school and say, "F it! We're going home!" They messed up today. Call me a "wimp", I don't care. I still think this was a MAJOR fail on the part of AAPS.

kindred spirit

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 8:09 a.m.

I've always heard that if the buses can't run, there's no school. Your story is exactly the reason that tenet should be followed.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:41 a.m.

suck it up teachers...i drop my kids off at school you have to drive to and then commute 30 minutes. maybe lay off the facebook posts, it makes the rest of us cringe.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:43 a.m.

Times have changed since I grew up. I had no bus service for elementary school. My brother , sister and I walked a mile to school everyday. I also had no bus service for junior high where my friend and I walked over 2 miles to school. I do not believe in snow days. Just my opinion.

Urban Sombrero

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 5:02 a.m.

Was it uphill? Both ways? Pray tell, did you have to kill a bear with a loose-leaf binder? Yyeah....just because it was that way when you were a kid doesn't make it right. I'm guessing a LOT of things were different when you were a kid. Just like they were when I was a kid. BUT....we've evolved. Things change because they SHOULD.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:59 a.m.

amen, teachers have a good memory in my mind until about 25 when i realize they did nothing for me but use me for a bargaining chip...cry babies!


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:02 a.m.

. . .and Dani. . Hows bout this for a real piece of investigative journalism. . . there are a surprising number of AA teachers that send, or sent, their very own children to private schools, charter schools, or even home school. . . If the very teachers don't believe in "the System" (but sure enjoy the pay), how do WE, the customers of the the System believe in it?. .

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

And there are a lot of teachers who choose to bring their children to the same school in which they teach.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

I don't understand your comment, Kindred Spirit--can you explain? I believe Napalm.Morning's question was whether in fact significant numbers of public school teachers have so little confidence in the system that they choose charters, private schools, or homeschooling over public education for their own children and, if that's the case, what the implications of that choice might be. Your comment doesn't seem to me to answer those questions. If public school teachers choose non-public schools for their kids, aren't they voting with their feet, as it were, for the very alternatives championed (generally) by Republicans and opposed (generally) by Democrats? So if the Republicans support alternatives to public schools that some (many? that's the question) teachers favor, doesn't that suggest that they and these teachers are actually in agreement about how children are best educated? Somebody earlier in this comment thread mentioned something about a disconnect...

kindred spirit

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 8:13 a.m.

The governor and the Republican legislature are destroying the system. Teachers are trying to fight that battle on the job, but take necessary steps in their personal lives.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 1:53 a.m.

I don't think we needed a snow day today but it is bad for morale when every other district in the area closes. It is really bad. It's also weird that every other district as well as the private schools in this town closed while only AAPS remained open. It also makes no sense that WISD drivers couldn't drive yet somehow advised that the roads were passable. There is a disconnect somewhere, just as there is a disconnect between much of our community and our superintendent. Very, very strange.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:41 a.m.

The disconnect is that our illustrious Superintendent lives in Pennsylvania. Yet a stink was raised when a recent past boardmember were "outed" as having children attending a private school. Meanwhile many of the same boardmembers hava a "Kumbaya Moment" whenever a national search team annoints yet another carpetbagging academic elitist to line their pockets with our (local) tax dollars. . . but that's just my opinion. . . I could be wrong. .


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 1:21 a.m.

Ann Arbor citizens, we get what we deserve. Much, much less than half of us voted in the past elections for School Board. The members selected chose to overpay a superintendent that opts to leave Ann Arbor every week, but still has decision making responsibilities that cannot be overcome by those that remain in the area. Do not blame others, it is we who allowed this to happen. Consent of the governed... It is a sham when the Communication Director tells us that the WISD stated that the roads were clear. Why then did the WISD close their own school, and every other district in the county concurred... except Ann Arbor. It is a cya for the Superintendent. Was there a district within 100 miles that was open? But we get what we deserve, including the unalienable right to gripe and complain when we have allowed it to occur because we are unwilling to pay attention to civic matters. Consent of the governed. We allowed this to happen by giving our permission in the past elections.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:47 a.m.

We are thankful for our wonderful bus driver ( Miss T)! Kids arrived to and from school safe and sound.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:45 a.m.

I absolutely can not believe the pansies in Ann Arbor! (On second thought, though.....) Probably the same people who call into work sick or begging for a snowday off.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

I live in the Northside neighborhood and had no trouble getting out to school and work. I am glad they didn't cancel school. It sucks to be two parents working and have school cancelled, with no child care options. It costs me money every time they close the schools.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 8:43 a.m.

So school is your babysitter and you live how far from your school?? okay

kindred spirit

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 8:17 a.m.

Our society needs to be more forgiving of people in the work force. We are not robots. We are people who have families with needs. School does not exist to be a child care service.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:31 a.m.

I bet the real reason is if they cancelled school the big basketball game tonight would have had to be cancelled..c'mon fess up


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:20 a.m.

drove my usual route early this a.m. - just had to slow down a little, but other than that it was far and away NOT the worst driving of this year to date


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:02 a.m.

Stupid, and totally irresponsible to keep schools open when every other district was closed. Classes were empty, many teachers could not make it to class. What a nightmare. What's Ann Arbor always trying to prove?

J. A. Pieper

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

We are the best, you know it, and this was just one example to help prove it to every community around here? Want your kids to be in school more, and not experience wimpy snow days? Send them to AAPS - we would love the state funding we will get for your child!

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

So, if every other school district jumped off a cliff.....


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 5:03 a.m.

easy bus driver, and slow down on those roundabouts., lol


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:46 p.m.

Having gone through the AAPS myself, class of '85, there were many, many, times when every other school was cancelled except AAPS. I do think that people that live in a more country setting have a harder time traveling then us in the city do. And there would be complaints either way, just look at these posts! I had no trouble getting the kids to school - we allowed a little extra time, drove with caution and I wore my winter gear to trudge through the unplowed lots to get to my office. Today was one of those days where you just have to accept Mother Nature.

Talk to the Hand!

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:26 p.m.

It was to cold & windy for the kids to be out in the open fields for recess!! Since they had school, "indoor recess" would have been better for the kids rather than be out in the COLD, WINDY, SNOW SQUALLS".

J. A. Pieper

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

Sorry, my students loved being outside for recess on Friday!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

This just prepares them for the real world, where you don't get "snow days." I have to go to work regardless of the weather conditions. Today's commute was not bad at all. When I was in school, snow days were the rare exception, not the norm. People today seem entitled to get snow days whenever it snows.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:16 p.m.

What I find interesting is the fact that Clemente and Skyline both had a power outage at the same time? Coincidence? Maybe. Otherwise, I too agree school should have been called off. But then again, there was no one minding the store at Pioneer. My child called and told me she either had no teachers or the teachers arrived at the tail end of the class. Nice time to catch up on sleep at Pi Hi. Interesting.

mike gatti

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11 p.m.

Bold leadership for these heady times.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

I think perhaps some parents wanted their own snow days from work :).


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:20 p.m.

In my opinion, the school districts in this area close way too often. Gone are the days of walking to school in ten feet of snow, uphill, in both directions. But, here is an interesting tidbit... At 6:50AM this morning, both WJR Radio and CBS 62 TV showed Ann Arbor Schools (along with Saline and others) closed. By 9:05AM Ann Arbor had been removed from the list of 600+ closed schools. But, it makes you wonder...who called the news outlets and told them Ann Arbor was closed?

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

I remember those mornings sitting by the radio in pajamas, anxiously listening to the list and waiting to hear "Ann Arbor Public Schools." Back in the day, and I mean way back in the day, we used to believe that we could call the station and pretend to be the superintendent and tell them school was closed. I remember a discussion by J. P. McCarthy about the password system they used and the large number of calls they would get from kids with faked adult voices trying to get them to report that their own school district is closed.

Cendra Lynn

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:11 p.m.

Sounds like a religious war: snow day vs. no snow day flinging verbal brickbats. Sad part is Liz Margolis sounds so defensive and whiny about complaints. It's not about you, Liz. Nobody cares about complaints directed at you. The point is to make the best possible decision you can, and then either stick by it or say you were wrong. Frankly, when you have kids standing outside for 40 minutes, you were wrong. You easily could have called the families of those children and said when to expect the bus. Those things called cell phones could have kept everyone in touch. So could a website showing the bus's current location. Or is that too much critical thinking to manage?

Mark Ferguson

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

Isn't there a Ann Arbor Pioneer vs Huron tonight?? If the schools were closed no bball game!


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 1:43 a.m.



Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:57 p.m.

She could work 10 hour days the other 4.

kindred spirit

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 8:24 a.m.

And like all the teachers who work 10 hour days 6 days a week.

kindred spirit

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 8:21 a.m.

I am certain most superintendents work more than 10 hours a day in general. Her working that in four days is no astounding feat. But with the blizzard, she won't be back until Wednesday.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:39 p.m. all the teachers do?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:53 p.m.

I don't know this for a fact, but I'm figuring that A2 stayed open because they've already had a number of scheduled days off since the beginning of this year. Just look at the calendar on the A2 public schools website. Professional development - whatever that means - seems to be the biggest excuse for their days off. I've worked for someone in Ann Arbor for 12 years who always brings his children to work on their "off" days, and I can honestly say that the A2 district seems to have a lot more "off" days than other districts in this area.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:05 p.m.

All school districts are allocated a certain number of snow days a year. This is in addition to teacher work days and professional development days. Snows days and teacher work days/professional development days have nothing to do with one another; they come out of different "pots," so to speak.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

All students in Michigan attend school for a required number of instructional hours. Other districts finish school earlier than Ann Arbor. For example, AAPS has a professional development day on Election Day to keep strangers out of the schools when students are there. I'd call that good planning.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:50 p.m.

I would like if did a some investigating about today. As in, were any children hurt getting to school? Were any parents' cars damaged in collisions bringing their kids to school?


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 1:43 a.m.

....and how about that big game between Pioneer and Huron that was scheduled for later today....?? Hmmm..?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:02 p.m.

Wouldn't you like this info for every day so an actual comparison could me made?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:46 p.m.

Considering the superintendent doesn't work Fridays and lives in Pennsylvania I can understand how hard it is to call school off. We should totally give a pass.

J. A. Pieper

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

Maybe we should follow her example?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:51 p.m.



Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:38 p.m.

My, my, my. Life in a northern town. Go figure!

gerald Grzesik

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:32 p.m.

Kids only go to school part time now any way, because the teachers only want to work about 150 days a year.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

Well, teachers are scheduled to work 187 days a year, so there's a way to go before they reach their goal. Of course you are talking about school days, not weekends when teachers are grading papers, updating grades and doing lesson planning, right?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:32 p.m.

Danielle is there any way you can find out how many kids attended school today. I heard at Huron average of 7 kids per class.

John Simon

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 10:04 p.m.

6 kid out of 36 in first hour at skyline (my kids)

kathy coles

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 5:09 a.m.

My child attends Huron his first hour was 12 students. 2d was 8 3d hr was 10. I wouldn't say those are normal by any means. His 1st hour teacher wasn't even there because of where he lives and roads were bad.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

My kids said attendance was normal at all three of their kids' schools, one at each level. I get that kids and parents were ticked off, but I heard a very different story at Huron (pretty normal), so hard to know what is going on or if someone is exaggerating.

Danielle Arndt

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

I asked the district spokeswoman about this earlier today and she indicated absences did not seem abnormal. She said specific attendance data would not be available until Monday. I plan to follow up. But thanks for your question and for sharing what you've heard. Any other readers have experiences they could share? How many kids were in your children's classes? I'd love to know what teachers saw in their buildings today.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

Not true...


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10 p.m.

There were 10 students in my child's 1st hour Skyline class.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:32 p.m.

As a parent and Michigan resident I salute the AAPS for staying open and not giving in to all these whiners!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:27 p.m.

I can understand that some kids further out would have encountered trouble getting to school, but I think for the vast majority it was simply a winter day in Michigan. Our elementary bus was late but only by maybe 10 minutes or so. I agree with the decision, and believe with the uncertainty it was well within bounds. They really were damned if they did and damned if they didn't.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:14 p.m.

Inexperienced young kids driving to school and out on the roads. What is the matter with a parent saying sorry the roads are bad I don't feel comfortable with you driving today so you are riding the bus????

West Side Mom

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:17 a.m.

That choice may not exist. Many kids that drive (or are driven to school) do so to avoid ridiculously early bus times. Some high school stops that occur between 6 and 6:30 a.m. Kid who is driving or driven by a parent doesn't even need to be up yet.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

Because there is no bus that picks up students in some areas.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:09 p.m.

I suspect that Skyline's power has gone out more times than other schools. I wonder why. It goes out a lot.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:53 p.m.

DJ - post of the day. Even better than my own, incredibly.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:40 a.m.

Not enough windmills?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:13 p.m.

It's that area - I work over there and the power goes out *constantly*. It's nuts.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:06 p.m.

At Pioneer High School a large portion of the teachers did NOT show up because they either had to stay home with their children because their districts closed school for the day or they couldn't/didn't want to travel on icy roads. So, many, many classes had subs and my daughter had 3 classes of substitute teachers WITHOUT lesson plans and another class where a sub didn't even show up! So -- a lot of kids were there but not teachers. I know that they get complaints either way because working parents don't want to take off work when there are snow days but come on -----the roads were not safe. Ms. Margolis can stand by whatever she likes even if it's ridiculous.

John Simon

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

Classes were empty, no work went on, and then Skyline's power was knocked out, along with Roberto Clemente and students were sent home (from the storm)


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:37 p.m.

My daughter says her Pioneer classes were "a third" full.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

I had heard many classes were half full despite school not being called off---did your daughter find that to be true?

A A Resident

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

Moving south won't fix it. Whiners and blamers are whiners and blamers, no matter where they live.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:03 p.m.

maybe aaps got it right and the other districts overreacted????

John Simon

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:02 p.m.

I think it was a very close call to say the least. It could've gone either way. Considering the aaps made a mistake last Thursday, they were clearly more focused on making the decision. The forecast was far more intimidating than the actually turn out of the storm. With that said, considering all of the anticipation, the decently bad roads, and the fact that every other district closed, the call probably should have been made. Along with the fact that there are still 5 days that we have available for snow days, we've had 0, and it probably wont snow to a school-closing extent in the future.

John Simon

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

Oh, well I guess there was one snow day..multiple schools had professional development days on that Monday, not having school reguardless of the cancellation.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:29 p.m.

We've had 0? Why was my kid at home the other week?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

I thought AAPS had a snow day


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9 p.m.

I can't believe this is a bunch of parents crying about school not being closed today over just over an inch of snow and 'maybe' (and that's a generous maybe) some ice beneath the snow. The parents are worse than the kids. Move south. Michigan is no place for you.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

There an educational benefit to overcoming adversity. I feel too many parents remove their kids from adversity to the kids detriment

A A Resident

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:51 p.m.

I suppose it's only fair if snowplow drivers are allowed to use the same excuse. LOL

Ann English

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

Wasn't there a recent accident involving a SALT TRUCK? Next we'll read about snowplows getting into accidents.

Rob Pollard

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

Danielle, when it says, "about 15 bus drivers for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District" weren't able to make it due the weather, what % of bus drivers is that? 15%? 5%? And is that typical for a snowy day where school still is in session? (I realize that last one might harder to answer b/c what is "typical" but it seems if they know a snowfall is coming that may be significant, but not close schools, they would perhaps get some reserve drivers - if such a thing exists - on tap to allow for the fact they will likely have some absences)?

Rob Pollard

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:01 p.m.

Thanks for your response. Whether people agree with the decision to not close the schools, the fact that a good portion of these 15 drivers had to stay home b/c their (non AAPS) school closed shows how tough it can be to coordinate everything and the ripple effect that these decisions have. It also shows the missing bus drivers are not malingering, which I feel is important to point out; they're people who have to deal with their families like everyone else.

Danielle Arndt

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

Rob, good questions! The WISD has about 170 bus drivers, so 15 calling in is about 8.8 percent. I'll ask about how "typical" this is for a snow day. When I spoke with Tom Moore earlier, he did mention a few of the drivers who called in had school-aged children and their children's schools were closed. So some of those drivers had difficulty finding childcare arrangements on short notice, he said.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

"Though roads in the Ann Arbor area were judged to be passable, about 15 bus drivers for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, which provides transportation for Ann Arbor, Willow Run and Ypsilanti schools, were forced to call in absent because of the weather, said WISD Transportation Director Thomas Moore." I guess they recently moved here from Florida.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:37 p.m.

No they didn't just move from Florida. I guess noone understands the responsibility these drivers have when they're out on the roads. They transport your children people!!!! You all think that busses are this magical vehicle that wont ever crash, or slide off roads, or flip over with your children on them. If Ypsi, and Willow Run cancelled school , why would Ann Arbor drivers jeopordize their life, or the lives of the children? WISD runs all three transportation departments, ALL three should have closed. Good for the drivers that did call off.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:04 p.m.

Do you think that maybe the bus drivers don't even live in Washtenaw county?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:43 p.m.

What is this, Georgia? Give me a break. This was a mild winter storm, the roads were passable and it was not that cold or windy out. Anybody upset about this is a wimp.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:43 p.m.

1-2 inches, people. Seriously? WE LIVE IN MICHIGAN. When did everyone become such babies? Put on some boots and a hat, drive slower, leave earlier, put your cellphone away when you're in the car, give other cars plenty of room when you're on the roads. Quit blaming everything on the road commission, or the schools. The accidents aren't caused by the 1-2 inches of white stuff on the roads, they're caused by idiot drivers. And if you lack that much confidence in your driving or the local road commission or your school system, then you're all adults - make your own choice to stay home, or go in late to work/school, or buy some snow tires, or move south.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:02 p.m.

one of the best posts I've read on this site!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

None of you whiners would last a day in the U.P., you betcha! You whiney little lopers!

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:19 p.m.

let's go make some wood, eh?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:05 p.m.

I have lived UP... let's just say Mr. Harmon and the City crews would not have jobs up there. A2 has the worst road clearing I have ever experienced. Now, if we were allowed to stud or chain our tires here we could also manage. People living in A2 definately have a right to complain about driving conditions around here, both city and county roads!

A A Resident

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:39 p.m.

What??? We all made it to work, but 15 professional drivers, the bus drivers, "were forced to call in absent" because they couldn't make it to work????


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:09 p.m.

My thought was they should have cancelled. If you cancelled both schools (Ypsi and Willow Run) because you clearly knew the roads were unsafe for bus drivers to be transporting students, then tell me why you decided to keep Ann Arbor in session . All three schools run under WISD transportation Department, and all towns are neighbors to one another. The road conditions were clearly not safe for busses to be transporting. Maybe even a delay of 2-3 hours would have worked. My kids bus was 40min late this morning, and yes i did drive them after waiting and no one showed, without even a phone call to tell me they were going to be late.

A A Resident

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:54 p.m.

Proudparent, do you think the proper solution is for a bus driver to claim they can't make it to work, forcing another driver to cover the route, and making some kids stand outside at the bus stop for 40+ minutes?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:31 p.m.

Everyone always complains about the driver.Until your bus carrying 50+ students slides off the road into a ditch and your charged with an accident! Or your driving up Newport Rd at an extremely slow rate of speed because your fellow drivers on the road have to drive that slow, and your bus slides backwards into the cars behind you. Where did you make it to work today AA Resident??? Into your nice little office without the responsibility of 50+ minor lives on your shoulders???? Until you have the responsibilty of a childs life in your hands in road conditions that clearly were not safe for ALL sourrounding area schools to close, maybe then you will think of the safety of the children.

A A Resident

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:56 p.m.

This morning, we were driving on ice and snow, not dirt or asphalt.

the leprachaun

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

Do you live on a dirt road? How about you go drive one a few.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

Ironic that the power would go out at Skyline today and provide an additional forum for people to cry about and slam the decision to keep schools open. Get over it people. This is winter and Michigan. The power outage is just another inconvenience beyond control. Amazing how lame so many have become.

Lon Horwedel

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:26 a.m.

As a Skyline parent, maybe we should investigate as to why there have been three power outages at the school this year? Seems like every time the wind gusts over 15 mph the power goes out over there, but only there. That place can be a real head-scratcher sometimes.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

People are getting way to soft


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

Hey treetown - you sound like a tough guy, I'm going to be out at my farm Sunday, skidding logs out of ditches. It's great fun - we'll go cross-country skiing for a while then get to work tossing 100-200# wet log chunks up out of the ditches. Probably only two or three dozen. How about it? But you know, that might be a little soft for ya, with a high of 39 and drizzle and all. Last year was better, working in the teens with a 10 mph wind and ice pellets. That was more like it, eh? Yeah, my 11 year old son started getting cold after a two hours and went back up to the barn to warm up. I'm sure you would have been at it for three or four hours like my wife and I. Good talking to someone else who knows what it's like to not be soft!

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:32 p.m.

I know, it is weird driving behind some of these spineless folks.

C. Montgomery Burns

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

In my day, I had to walk 10-miles to school, in 6' of snow, uphill - both ways!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:53 p.m.

Don't forget without boots.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:34 p.m.

Oh, honestly, if there's an issue of safety at all, just close the schools. It's not like Ann Arbor has had anything like its limit of snow days in the last couple of years.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

Well, that's true. :) Good point.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

The roads were worse this morning than they were on January 28th when they called a snow day. Curious that it made for a four day weekend for AAPS when they called that day off?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

It was not a four day weekend for teachers - Monday was the one day given by the district for secondary teachers to wrap up the first semester grades and Tuesday was a mandatory district-wide Professional Development day.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

If the snow fall hadn't been over-hyped yesterday I don't even think this would be a question. Roads were completely passable even in my neighborhood which is never plowed.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:24 p.m.

"Not a single roadway I drove on was anything but packed snow." So? Packed snow is completely drivable.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

Okay, KJMClark, the description "cookie dough" says it all. Not quite the packed snow I was envisioning. Sorry. Still, as we all know, I think, we had drivable, but not good, conditions practically everywhere ... even where not ploughed. Sorry about underestimating you.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:16 p.m.

Um AA Resident - duh? I'm quite aware of how the car handles in snow. "Tested the driver"??? Should I send some dim, veiled insults your way too? How many years have you driven in SE Michigan winters? Geez, and I did it in a rear-wheel drive Volare as a kid.

A A Resident

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

KJM, needing to slow down, and sliding a little bit is normal when driving in snow. Take your all-wheel drive Subaru out in a snow-covered parking lot and practice a little. It is a very capable car in snow, and while this little snowfall may have tested the driver, it didn't even begin to push the car's limits.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

My thoughts exactly.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

It was bad two-track - as in, no pavement visible, just semi-packed snow/cookie dough for the tire tracks, and snow outside those. Kind of hard to describe that over the phone. I *wish* it had just been packed snow. That's safer to drive on that cookie dough. As I said before, I was an in AWD Subaru with snow tires with about 4,000 miles on them - practically new. I wasn't getting stuck anywhere, but we were all slowing way down to get through. And yes, I did slide a bit a few times, even so. Something tells me the plow trucks got to other areas sooner, and the snowfall/icefall was different in different parts of town. Your mileage may vary.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:16 p.m.

1-2 inches of snow is no excuse to close schools. The roads were better this morning than they were earlier in the week. For heaven's sake people, this is Michigan - not Florida.


Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

I'm nice too, and I din't say he wasn't a nice guy, he probably is, but accidents happen. Come on, riding a bike in the snow? Really? (See profile picture). If your kid can't go to school because of the snow, do you really think you should be riding a bike in it?


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:19 a.m.

Agreed - I'm KJM's neighbor, he is no traffic hazard on a bike, and I grew up in So Cal and try to avoid bikers and snow, period. He knows what he is doing. But on the real topic - the Northside roads really were a mess today. Add in potholes of poorly maintained roads and ice, and that couple inches of snow really starts to become much more hazardous for even a slowly driving car.

West Side Mom

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:01 a.m.

Ditto DJBudSonic. Ken Clark is a good guy. Can't imagine that'd he ever do something that endangered others on the road. I've seen him go out of his way to do the right thing.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:37 a.m.

Ken Clark is no idiot biker, he is 100% hardcore, and a nice guy to boot. I doubt he is a traffic hazard.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:53 p.m.

me is someone who kan type... man that previous post was littered with typos. Ha.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

So you are one of the idiots who ride their bike in the snow. Just wondering who these people are wo endanger themselves and others by riding a bike in the snow. I am an AA biker, but I also and a person with some common sense.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:37 p.m.

And, yes, by the time I left for work, with studded snow tires, it was just barely bikeable. Though again, Plymouth was just wet and slushy.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

Actually, I biked to work every day this week, and on my side of town, today was the worst. The section of M-14 between my house and Skyline was nearly as bad as it was the night after Christmas, when we drove home in that worst snowfall this season. Can't tell you way, but the northside of town was fairly bad. I counted about a dozen places where people had slid into curbs. Someone nearly slid into the truck in front of me at the round-about at the M-14 exit onto Maple.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:16 p.m.

Decisions under uncertainty are just that -- uncertain. Everyone made their best judgment, presumably, both schools that cancelled and schools that didn't. Let's reserve our wrath for people and decisions that are deliberately venal (congress, lobbyists, bankers, take your pick) rather than people in our own community just trying to do their jobs with uncertain information.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

^^ Correct answer.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

So kids went to school on a wintery the winter. Somebody call the police!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:05 p.m.

The horror! The horror!!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

First, why didn't Trent and Sup. Green take into account the FACT that the City of Ann Arbor does a poor job clearing and salting roads throughout the entire city thus creating pockets of 'good road conditions' right next to pockets of hazardous roads? How many accidents were reported over the past 2 weeks because the city failed to create/maintain safe road conditions throughout the city, the entire city? Second, 'when in Rome' - my goodness, EVERY school closes BUT AAPS remains open. AAPS can't follow the decisions of Ypsi., Willow Run and the city's non-public schools because, why, because they forget to check with AAPS first? Every school in Washtenaw was wrong in calling a snow day? That's just arrogant (and/or stupid). Lastly, it's not about being 'damed if you and damed if you don't' (Margolis) - in this situation, the dst. 'leaders' damed themselves in thinking personally and not acting locally. Idea - cover the 12 million budget deficit by cutting 90% of the top administrators along with their support staff. Why do top administrators need a team and building of their own - away from all the schools out there on State St.? What happened to moving those office to Pioneer? Again, thinking personally and NOT acting locally.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11 p.m.

"...the FACT that the City of Ann Arbor does a poor job clearing and salting roads throughout the entire city" This is the problem. It is not the 1 or 2 or 3" of snow. It's the lack of salting and plowing.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

"...the FACT that the City of Ann Arbor does a poor job clearing and salting roads throughout the entire city" AMEN to that brother!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

1" - 3" oh, the horrors. Suck it up, buttercup.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 7:19 a.m.

I know, right? How would people react to the winter storm that is hitting the east coast? 1-3 inches is NOT a winter storm. That's NORMAL for winter around here. Now if the schools had been kept open when it was 6+ inches and still falling, then I'd agree with everyone.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

Well, one thing I love about this city is how nobody feels they should ever be inconvenienced by anything, ever, even slightly. Thank you for restoring my faith that this isn't so, buttercup.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:19 p.m.

If you love A2 then you should know by now that the city does a horrible job keeping all of the roads cleared and salted. Ya know, the city'c boundaries go beyond your street, buttercup.

Mr. Ed

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

Thank you for staying open

kindred spirit

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8 p.m.

Ken Clark-- Please join the discussion and tell us about your feelings now that your kids were sent home early from Skyline.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:28 p.m.

Can you believe that? Go figure. My daughter's cellphone is getting a workout today. I had to drop everything at work and get ready to pick her up again, but the parent of one of the kids I took in this morning was already on the way. Just have to shake my head.

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

unhappy about a non-snow day? um, stay home anyway?!?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:31 p.m.

Andrew Kerr, I'm confused by your comment. Are you implying that elementary students don't have lessons each day? If so, when was the last time you were in an elementary school?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:12 p.m.

Doesn't paying off your credit card every month defeat the entire purpose of having a credit card in the first place?

Andrew Kerr

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

This is fine if you're in elementary, but in upper grades if you miss a day when school is actually in session you miss a lesson (which might be relevant on tests), turning in homework, assignments, attendance marks, etc. It really punishes the kids and puts them at a disadvantage.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

Honestly, I can't imagine doing that. Kind of like I have a hard time imagining not paying my credit card off each month, or calling in sick when it's not legitimate. To each their own, I guess.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

Rumor has it that Dr. Green in vacationing in Hawaii. Any truth to this Danielle? Also rumored that Dr. Green has specified in her contract that she does not work on Fridays. If both of these are true perhaps was the reason Ann Arbor was the only school in county not closed.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:29 a.m.

Does Dr. Green actually live in the Ann Arbor district? Come on. . . how invested in the community is she? My carpetbagger detector keeps going off. . .perhaps I need to have it checked out. . .

Danielle Arndt

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:01 p.m.

proudparent, the WISD transportation department doesn't actually call off school for anyone. It just makes its best determination/assessment and passes a recommendation along to all of the districts. Today's recommendation was the same for all three districts. Ypsilanti and Willow Run made the individual decision to close, just as AAPS made the individual decision to stay open. Hope this provides some clarity!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:19 p.m.

Danielle, If they called off school for Ypsi and Willow Run assuming the road conditions were unsafe for student transportion there, why was Ann Arbor open? All three schools transportation department is ran by WISD, why did they think it was ok to send the A2 drivers out in terrible conditions? Just a thought.

J. A. Pieper

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

AAPS does everything possible to avoid giving the public information requested through a FOIA. They delay, delay, delay, and then still manage to not give you what is desired. They would NEVER give out information related to Dr. Green and her work schedule, even though almost the whole parent population already knows she never works on Fridays, she goes home.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

Could that info be FOIA'd or is only salary FOIA-able (not contract specifics)?

Momma G

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

I think Danielle should pursue the answer to your question about Dr. Green. I'd heard that she doesn't work on Fridays. How the heck do they let her get away with that, anyway. For the rate of pay she is making, she should work everyday like everyone else is required to work.

Danielle Arndt

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

The WISD provides transportation services for AAPS, Willow Run and Ypsilanti. So even when the WISD's central offices and educational programs are closed, the WISD transportation department still operates busing for its customers that decide to remain open. And as Tom Moore said in the article, the WISD transportation team determined the weather today was not going to affect their abilities to operate. Now, that wasn't a guarantee and there were some issues, but that was the WISD's assessment/recommendation today. Hope that helps! Thanks for your questions.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

Danielle, How could WISD be part of that team when they closed but not AAPS? What does that say about AAPS or their 'snow day' team?

Danielle Arndt

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

I cannot speak to either of those rumors. However, Superintendent Green is not Ann Arbor's point person on snow days. Executive Director of Physical Properties Randy Trent has been designated as the AAPS employee to lead the snow-day decision making, to work with the WISD officials on assessing road conditions and to oversee the district's facilities staff that assesses conditions around the district and handles clearing school parking lots and sidewalks, etc.