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Closing and Delay Decisions

Why are we still in school when others aren’t?

We are sometimes asked, “Why is Ankeny still in session when many other districts have canceled school?” Each time inclement weather is upon us, district administrators work with our safety team and transportation company to evaluate road conditions and safety for travel. Weather decisions most often have to be made before students and staff begin to travel, and with changing weather conditions, timing can lead to variability in district decisions. Further, Ankeny differs from many districts in ways that allow us to remain open when many districts close. Several other suburban school districts also share some of these characteristics, such as:

  • Compact Geographic Footprint – Rural school districts have a much greater geographic area than Ankeny, meaning their buses travel many more miles. We may fill one or more buses in a single subdivision, whereas a rural district may have to drive miles to fill one bus.
  • Suburban Bus Routes – Because we are in town, most of our buses travel on lower-speed routes. Unlike a rural district, we have little gravel or highway miles.
  • Stability of Routes – Additionally, most of the streets and roads in the Ankeny district are level and flat, unlike districts where the terrain has more hills.
  • Snow Ordinances – Because most of the school district is in town, the city snow ordinance results in most routes being cleared more quickly than in a rural district.
  • Different Bus Schedules – Different bus schedules apply due to differences in the start and end times of school for various districts. Ankeny Schools run “double routes,” or the buses take elementary students home, and then the same buses are used to take secondary students home. This results in a staggered schedule that may be different than other districts and requires the district to dismiss earlier than others to ensure buses are back and students are delivered home before a storm.