Forest Hills superintendent explains school opening

FOREST HILLS, Mich. (WOOD) – As the snow continues to fall Thursday, some parents are upset their school district is open.

Forest Hills Public Schools Superintendent Dan Behm emailed parents Thursday explaining his decision to open school.

Behm has decided to dismiss middle and high school students about 20 minutes early to give extra travel time for buses.

Superintendent Behm’s email to parents:

“Dear Forest Hills Families,

Thank you for your support and patience as we endure an unusually early taste of winter weather. I was confident with today’s decision to open school when I had to make the decision at 5:15 a.m. The snow was very light and the County Road Commission had finally made it to the secondary roads and subdivisions. The predictions for additional snow throughout the day had been reduced to only one or two more inches. Again, this was all between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m.

The impacts of lake effect snow are difficult to predict depending upon where snow bands set up. Clearly, the snow band that set up around 5:45 a.m. has been persistent and appears to like its current location directly over our area. Even with the snow, all of our buses were able to safely transport children into school this morning. I know traffic was slow and there were backups in various locations throughout the district. (When we have a day with school in session, many more vehicles are added to the roads and the impacts on traffic patterns are significant.)

For this afternoon, we will begin dismissal from our middle and high schools (our “first tier” of bus runs) about 20 minutes early. This will account for extra travel time and buses traveling at slower speeds. This will allow our buses to arrive at our elementary schools at their normal time (if not a few minutes early) to begin the process of transporting home our younger students. We prefer to avoid early dismissals for our youngest students understanding that some families do not have someone at home to meet early-elementary-aged students. Our buses will travel slowly and safely this afternoon.

Thank you for your continued patience, support, and understanding as we work diligently to make the best decisions in the face of unpredictable weather variables. This is Michigan; the weather will change. According to the calendar, winter officially begins one month from tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you have a pleasant fall and a relaxing Thanksgiving with family and friends.

With deep respect and appreciation,

Dan Behm”

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