Wichita Schools defend keeping schools open

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Wichita, Kan. -- Some Wichita parents like Carrie Lisenbee didn't like the idea of getting their children off to school in such frigid temperatures.

Lisenbee who's son goes to Hadley Middle School says, "My child usually walks to school and walks home, definitely. And I just think it's too cold. I wished they had not had school today. At least waited until it warmed up a little more."

On the other hand some parents while acknowledging how cold it is are glad schools remained open.

Scott Fryar who's son Gage is a Hadley 6th grader says, "It's part of living in Kansas. I think it's just fine that they go back to school today."

School spokeswoman Susan Arnesman says a team of administrators from several departments work together in reaching a decision whether to hold classes or not.

Arnesman says, "We look at, not only the temperature. We look at snow. We look at the condition of the buildings, whether there's power to the buildings so there's heat. We look at the transportation and whether buses can get started."

First Student checked on the buses over the weekend to see that they could start after the 17 day holiday break.

The temperature was minus two with wind chills minus 17 when students started off to school Monday morning.

Arnesman says the last time Wichita called off schools due to cold weather there were six inches of snow on the ground compared to the two Wichita has now.

She says, "We understand their concern and we knew that whatever decision we made we would make some people say, 'I really need to go to work. I need my kids in school. Or vice versa.' And so we understand that."

"Some of the parents want the kids in school. And the teachers definitely want the kids back. And we want to start learning and start a whole new semester."

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