Valley dry, but mountain snow dismisses Rhea schools early
By Gordon Boyd Eyewitness News Reporter
DAYTON, RHEA COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- The snow was deep enough on the mountain to take a toll on parents, who have to miss work, and the students!
"I just called my Mom and said, 'bet you anything they dismiss early. It wasn't 15 minutes later, the phone rang, it was school", says Ray.
School, in this case, is Rhea County's Central Elementary, where her daughter is in second grade. Ray, and all Rhea County parents would be getting such 'robo-calls' Wednesday, telling them that classes were dismissing at 11AM.
The pavement was dry in Dayton proper, but Superintendent Jerry Levengood tells Eyewitness News that more than an inch of snow and sleet cover roads on Dayton Mountain, three miles away.
"When the (Cumberland) Plateau gets snow, the tires slip. We can't take the chance," says Levengood.
Snow already had cost Rhea County nine days of classes. Chiquita Clayton knows this means another half-day of playing hostess/chaperone to her 8th grade daughter.
"There were two (friends) that were going to come. That was a hit and miss," Clayton says, "But I am sure by the end of the day I will have several at my home."
Snow. Or not.
"I'm sure that there's a lot of parents that do have a big inconvenience because they work and have shifts, like that," says Regina Dyer, who picked up her two elementary school-age daughters.
April Miller maintains that the days missed have taken a larger toll on her 13-year-old son.
"He brought a D home in English," Miller says, " He shouldn't have had a D. He needs more time with the teachers. more time doing work in the classroom."
Snow cost students Rhea County students the entire week before last. They lost last Monday to the Martin Luther King holiday, and began classes two-hours late last Friday.
They will not have to make up Wednesday. Tennessee will count it as a full day, for attendance and funding.
Rhea County has one more day to burn before it must make up instructional days. It has two in-service days for teachers, but administrators would have several options for covering any further lost time; longer school days, canceling Spring Break, Saturday classes, or extending the school year.
Clayton isn't happy that her day was interrupted, but she says the process is what it is.
"If they say they (students) need to come home, my job is to pick them up and take them there," says Clayton, "I know my role, and they know theirs. And I don't confuse the two."