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Shaker Schools Give Parents Few Minutes Notice on Closing

Thursday, February 15, 2007 at 11:50 AM

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Schools were closed all over Northeast Ohio yesterday, with most making the announcement late Tuesday night. However, the Shaker Heights Public Schools gave the community only a few minutes notice before closing its buildings on Wednesday, leaving many families frustrated. ideastream's Lisa Ann Pinkerton reports.

With a winter storm watch predicted to last well into Wednesday, Tuesday night television was peppered with school closing announcements. But it wasn’t until 7:00 Wednesday morning, one hour before high school classes were scheduled to start, that Shaker Heights made its announcement.

Answering Machine: You have reached the Shaker Heights City Schools. It is 7:10, Wednesday, February 14th. We are closed due to weather today.

Gwen Thomas, a mother of two and president of the Lomand Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization, says the small size of Shaker Heights and it’s reliable road crews usually means classes are rarely canceled. But she says the predictions of this week’s snow storm should have been heeded.

Gwen Thomas: It seems like the kind of thing that could have been easily predicted and instead was announced at the last minute.

Mark Freeman, superintendent of Shaker Heights Schools, says around 4:00 AM Wednesday morning many Shaker roads and school parking lots were cleared, which led him to believe schools could open without much hassle. But as the morning progressed, the weather continued to deteriorate and he says he realized too late schools should not open. He pledges to review the school closing decision-making process to prevent the inconvenience his mistake had on Shaker families.

Mark Freeman: I think we need to take a closer look at what’s happening regionally, and things in more outlying areas that could affect staff and what’s going on. I think in a situation like this where I made a mistake in a decision it’s appropriate to review it in every direction.

Lisa Ann Pinkerton, 90.3.

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