Weather Decisions in the Belton School District
Dear Belton Families,
As a Missourian, you know the weather has a way of making up its own mind. As Superintendent, a top priority of mine is the safety of our students, staff, and families. And when it comes to inclement weather, everyone’s health and well-being drive my decisions.
After serving as Superintendent through several winter seasons, I know weather-related decisions – regardless of what decision is made – are both supported and opposed. I know my decision cannot please everyone, but I want you to understand what drives those decisions.
When extreme weather is imminent, the BSD operations staff and I are actively investigating and monitoring the precipitation, temperature, wind chill, road conditions, and more. Additionally, I stay in contact with the superintendents of our neighboring districts, and we get information from the National Weather Service, DS Bus Lines, and other sources to ensure I have the most comprehensive information available to inform my decision. I drive the roads throughout the community to assess the conditions.
When the information supports it, I make the decision I feel is best for Belton, which means it may differ from some of our neighboring districts. There are a number of reasons for some decisions, including: the number of rural miles that buses need to traverse; the number of students who walk to school; coordination with DS Bus Lines which buses a significant number of our students; young drivers’ lack of experience in certain conditions; and coordination of our very large food service operation (which provides the only warm meal(s) of the day for many of our students).
I also consider the ripple effect a “snow day” has on the entire community: not only for our nearly 4,400 students, hundreds of employees, and contracted personnel but for thousands of parents and family members, many of whom must go to work no matter the weather. Whatever decision is made, and we realize any decision will have those who disagree, it is made based on the best information available and in the best interest of our students and staff. With this in mind, I encourage you to create a plan for your family in the event of a school cancellation or early dismissal. I know these changes to our routine are disruptive and challenging for our families.
Finally, regarding the timing of the decision, while my goal is to make a decision about the next day prior to the 10:00 PM news, it is rarely practical. Weather conditions can change rapidly, for better or worse, overnight. An announcement about a cancellation or delay in the school day is made as early as possible, and no later than 6:00 AM.
Thank you for your support of the Belton School District and your flexibility as we make our way through another Missouri winter.
Sincerely in Education,
Andrew Underwood, Superintendent
HOW TO LEARN OF WEATHER-RELATED CHANGES TO THE SCHOOL SCHEDULE:
There are several ways BSD notifies the community of weather-related cancellations, delays, or early dismissals. We will FIRST post such announcements to the BSD website and our app (Google Play and App Store.)
Our automated message system will call, email, and text families if there are cancellations, delays, or early dismissals. If you have a Parent Portal account, please review your contact information for accuracy. If you do not have a Parent Portal account or are unsure about this, your child’s school can help check to ensure your phone number and email addresses are accurate.
Lastly, we notify our local media partners who normally share such announcements on-air or online. Weather-related announcements are provided to all local television stations and newspapers.
If you have a student who is in SAC or PAC, we will communicate information specific to those programs so you are aware of preparations you may need to make.
If you have a student who attends Cass Career Center or another district's academy programming, we encourage you to check that district's website for cancellation information. If we learn of any changes to their schedules before our messaging is sent, we will include it in our information.