Greenville Co. “Snow Day” Prompt Calls To Split School District

The winter storm is gone, but what’s left still caused problems for Upstate schools, Monday. Many students in our area were at home due to ice and snow. That can be a challenge for working moms and dads who have to scramble for child care.

But it’s perhaps more frustrating when there doesn’t seem to be anything on the roads where you live.
That’s what happened in Greenville County, where roads in the north end were still too dangerous to send kids to school, while lower portions were clear. For Stephanie Burger’s two boys, it meant an unplanned extended weekend on a sunny Monday that was warm enough to romp outdoors. It’s a dream when you’re 9 and 4, but not for their working mom.
“It’s horrible,” said Burger, with a smirk.

Sure, we love our kids. We also have to make money to keep them clothed fed and happy. When the Taylors-based realtor learned her boys would be out of school Monday, her mind raced.

“Who can keep my children? Daycare was closed, preschool was closed. Grandparents were back to work. Who can keep the kids because we have to work,” said Burger.

For many, the sunshine was the salt in the wound of a surprise “bring your kids to work day” and it prompted some parents to call for other solutions.

“I feel [they should have] a game plan for weather, as in, these northern schools don’t attend, because now we are taking a day out of spring break – well, two days of spring break – for no reason,” said Burger.

While you see separate closings in counties like Spartanburg or Laurens, where they have multiple districts, in Greenville County they just have one for 800 square miles. It means things can be tricky when ice and snow blows through, affecting different areas.

Many parents called for splitting up the district, Monday. That’s something that would have to be addressed at the Statehouse in Columbia. Still, it’s not as easy as closing down one school while the rest stay open.

“It’s not just so localized where you can look at say, ‘in Simpsonville, it looks great. Let’s let the kids in Simpsonville go. Let’s let the kids in Mauldin go and Fountain Inn.’ It’s not always that part of the county that gets the bad weather,” said Beth Brotherton, spokesperson for Greenville County Schools.

Brotherton said they have to operate the county as a whole to keep on the same calendar for makeup days, especially for students in magnet or charter schools.

“What would you do if you had a child that went to a magnet school in Greenville that was open today but a regular high school up in Greer that was closed,” she questioned.

It would mean added costs for special personnel.

Still, the District says they are sympathetic to dads and moms, like Stephanie Burger, who are hoping the snow day doesn’t last through Tuesday.

“A delay would be good, but they definitely need to go to school tomorrow,” said Burger.

The Greenville County School District says they will have a team of 25 people driving the roads Monday night to make a decision for Tuesday closings or delays.

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