Superintendent Explains School Cancellation Strategy

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools cancelled school Monday due to what it called hazardous road conditions. Superintendent Chris Belcher said he made the decision at 5:30 a.m., the latest possible time he can make a decision.

Belcher said he was optimistic CPS would not have to cancel school on Sunday night. But on Monday morning, Deputy Superintendent for Administration, Nick Boren told Belcher there was refreezing on some of the roads as well as school sidewalks and parking lots, which is why the cancellation was so late.

"We weren't 100 percent confident, which is why we got up early again and did the checks and the roads had not gotten better. We had to say, well, it's better to make a decision late than have a poor decision.

Belcher said CPS could have made the decision Sunday night, but realizes that about a third of students in the district need some sort of child care support when school is cancelled.

"We have to be very respectful of the needs of those families that if we call school, they're going to have to find someone to take care of their children."

Belcher said anytime there's inclement weather, parents have to assume school might get cancelled.

Monday was the third cancellation the 2013-14 school year. CPS requires students complete 174 school days. There are six days built in for inclement weather. Once you get past the six days, Missouri makes students make up one of every two days missed. 

Columbia Public Schools announced school would also be cancelled Tuesday on Monday evening, giving parents more time to figure out child care options.