School buses bog down in snowstorm

Posted: Thursday, November 11, 2004

Four school buses became stuck in the snow in turnarounds during a Tuesday afternoon snowstorm in Nikiski and the rear wheels of one bus slipped off the road.

No students were injured in the incidents.

"They were delayed, but not stranded," said Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Assistant Superintendent Sam Stewart on Wednesday.

Stewart said the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, school district, Alaska State Troopers and school bus drivers study winter weather conditions before school starts to determine whether to delay the start of or cancel school for the day.

"We're looking for information from several sources," Stewart said.

He said school principals in areas such as Homer and Seward contribute to the decision in those parts of the peninsula.

"The Laidlaw drivers go out and survey conditions before picking up students," he said.

Once children are in school, it is the school district's practice to keep them there rather than sending them home early to homes where working parents may not be home from work yet, so as to not put the children at risk.

"Sending them home early sets up other concerns," Stewart said.

The largest amounts of snow fell in northern reaches of Nikiski on Tuesday with less snow and rain in Kenai, Soldotna and points south. The combination of rain and snow was the cause of several vehicles getting stuck or ending up in ditches.

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