Budget, teachers suffer from snow

In a winter in which "inclement weather" has come to seem rather routine, many students have rejoiced at the plethora of school cancellations, delays and early dismissals. Seniors, especially, have reason to celebrate these closings, but, for many, a worry-free day off from school is hardly a fitting description of what a snow day can bring. Not only will most students, teachers and administrators have to return to school for at least another week after the day summer break was originally scheduled to begin, but snow days can cause large scale problems for the district as a whole. "The Ames Community Schools have spent nearly $100,00 0 on snow removal for the 2009-2010 school year," said Valerie Terando, Director of School, Community and Media Relations. And with all the budget issues that have been brought on by Iowa’s impending economic doom, the funds necessary for adequate snow removal have only made things worse. Besides the financial hardship, this winter’s weather have caused extraordinary transportation issues. " There have been days that Durham School Services, the District’s transportation provider, has been unable to run buses on gravel roads. This affects approximately 20 families. The ‘hard surfaces only’ notice was issued for the first time this year last week, and continued for 3 days," Terando said. The numerous snow cancellations have also caused serious problems for teachers. "Basically, for my AP classes, I have to cover all the material by April 30 because the exams start the first week of May. The snow days have really forced us [teachers] to prioritize the curriculum," science teacher Alan Junck said. "With everyday we miss for snow, we end up having to cut out more and more material that might be a neat related topic or an application for the AP curriculum." Ultimately, in a year where budget issues alone have caused many tribulations for the Ames Community School District, the harsh winter weather has only made things worse for everyone.