The School District faced a number of challenges resulting from the most recent blizzard and a shortage of bus drivers following the storm due to illness, Business Administrator Peter Curro told the School Board at its Tuesday, Feb. 17 meeting.
Following last weekend’s blizzard, Superintendent Nate Greenberg said the District notified parents of alternate bus route pick-ups for students when the District saw a shortage of bus drivers and poor road conditions.
When a high number of drivers called in sick and the District didn’t have enough replacements, there were delays in pick-up times at some of the bus stops, with some buses late by 5 to 10 minutes.
“A couple times we borrowed drivers,” Greenberg said. “On Monday, Windham did not have school and we pulled some drivers from Windham. All-in-all, we’re making it through.”
The Highway Department has been in contact with the District daily, and even hourly at some times, according to Curro.
“On Feb. 16, we had a 90-minute delay, but the Town had off for President’s Day. They were out at 4 a.m. clearing off the roads so they were ready before the buses rolled off. The roads looked good when they went out,” he said.
Snow removal throughout the School District will be expensive, but it was necessary to ensure safety at the schools, Curro told the Board.
The District hired two companies, Northern New England Excavator and Accurate Tree Removal, to assist with efforts to clear snow off the roofs of several schools and remove snow piles around the schools and in the parking lots.
Curro said Northern New England Excavator leased two backhoes and three or four dump trucks to make room for additional snow and reduce the size of snow banks at school entrances that were obstructing sight lines for cars pulling in and out.
Additionally, Accurate Tree Service worked with cranes to shovel bags of snow off the roofs of South School, Matthew Thornton, the middle school and areas of the high school, as previously reported in the Londonderry Times.
Member John Laferriere asked how much the snow removal operation would cost.
“We don’t have a total yet, but it won’t be cheap,” Curro said, noting the expense was necessary to ensure safety.
Chairman Leitha Reilly said she received questions from parents as to whether the snow on the roof had posed a threat of collapse before it was removed.
“No, we did not wait until there was a threat,” Curro responded. “We acted as quickly as we did to address the issue and didn’t want to wait until we got right up to the snow load capacity. There are two or three winter storms coming and we wanted to remove the snow that’s there now before they arrive.”