Good afternoon; school’s closed

With the National Weather Service's local forecast calling for wind gusts up to 50 mph and possible flash flooding, both Charlottesville City and Albemarle County will close schools early today.
"We wanted to make sure all students were home before weather conditions deteriorate further and that buses had completed their runs," said a source in Charlottesville School's Central Office, declining to be identified. Charlottesville elementary schools will close at 12:30, middle school at noon, and high school at 1pm.
Albemarle honchos came to the same conclusion. "Basically, this is an 'err on the caution of safety' situation," says Diane Behrens, executive director of support services for Albemarle schools. While Behrens says conditions were good this morning, by a few hours later she had received reports of trees down. "We had a power outage at one of our schools," she adds, "and we were concerned we'd have more of that as the wind got higher."

Albemarle Elementary schools closed at 11:30; middle and high school will be released at 1pm.

And, adds Behrens, there is some good news.
"We got our day in," she says, "so we don't have to make up the day."

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And, adds Behrens, there is some good news.
ââ?¬Å?We got our day in,” she says, ââ?¬Å?so we don't have to make up the day.”

That's the key issue here. To make sure they squeeze in sufficient hours to count Sept. 1 as a full day for state reporting purposes so they get credit for that state dinero.

Problem is, the weather forecast was well known long before the dregs of Ernesto poured over central Virginia. School officals knew a major rain was a-coming, and they had all the information they needed to take a proactive stance and close schools for the day. The sensible course of action would have been to announce closings at 6 a.m., giving working people the chance to make plans that morning.

Instead, parents are left to scramble on short notice (less than 30 minutes for elementary-school children) to arrange pick-up and afternoon daycare for their kids.

But the school systems got that state money for the day.

To paraphrase Joe Pesci in Casino, "It's the dollars. Always the dollars."