Bus companies help decide if schools will close or delay classes

Bus companies help decide if schools will close or delay classes

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by Stephanie Zepelin

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie

KTVB.COM

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 10:29 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 30 at 8:12 AM

BOISE -- When deciding to delay or cancel classes because of bad weather, officials at the Nampa School District turn to the privately-owned Brown Bus company to help make the decision.

It's a common practice in the state of Idaho, where public schools often rely on private companies for safety and guidance in delivering the most precious of cargoes - kids.

Brown Bus Company serves the Nampa, Vallivue and Wilder School Districts, as well as nine different charter schools in Ada County and Canyon County. Operations Manager Brent Carpenter says his employees are constantly monitoring conditons for safety.

"We go out early - 3:30 to 4:30 in the morning, drive in areas of the school district that you serve and see what the roads look like, and you just get the firsthand knowledge of how much snow, how slick, how much is coming down," Carpenter said. "So that's part of the initial process, and then we determine, okay can the buses go?"

That's not the company's only recommendation to the school districts, as they also think about those students, along with teachers who don't take the bus.

"The student driver, how safe is it going to be for them? Teachers coming to work from outside of the area, how safe is it for them to come to school?" said Carpenter.

While safe road conditions are important to the decision-making process, temperature alone can create problems for the buses. If it gets too cold, Carpenter said the bus fuel typically gels.

The Idaho Department of Transportation says they aren't expecting extremely cold temperatures Wednesday night, but will have crews on around the clock to make sure the roads are in the best possible shape for the morning.

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