USC Schools on Two-Hour Delay Tuesday

The announcement came Monday afternoon.

On Monday afternoon, the Upper St. Clair School District issued a two-hour delay with modified kindergarten for Tuesday, Jan. 22.

The modified kindergarten schedule is as follows:
Morning Session - 10:15 to 11:55 a.m.
Afternoon Session - 1:05 to 2:45 p.m.

Here's the forecast from the National Weather Service in Moon Township:

  • Monday Night: Snow showers likely, mainly before 7 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 2. Wind chill values as low as -14. West wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
  • Tuesday: A slight chance of snow showers before 9 a.m. Partly sunny, with a high near 13. Wind chill values as low as -17. West wind 16 to 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
  • Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 0. Wind chill values as low as -14. West wind 11 to 13 mph.
Ed M January 21, 2013 at 08:10 PM
A delay because it's cold??? Really??? Man these kids are gonna have a tough time in the real world when school is over!
Tracy Schuster January 21, 2013 at 08:33 PM
It's my understanding that this has more to do with heating the buses up than with keeping the kiddos warm. Not sure if that's true, but that's the justification that has been provided in the past. I just don't understand why you live in this district if you despise each and every decision that they make. The district is not perfect, but there is no question that thanks to some of their decisions, combined with the excellent work put forth by many who work in it, along with the drive encouraged by many of the parents and students alike are keeping your home value up. Take a look at your neighboring district (BP), which is considering DECREASING their graduation requirements to the state minimum, and say a word of thanks that you chose to live in USC, even with the board as it exists today.
B January 21, 2013 at 08:55 PM
First, there is a considerable added amount of time needed to warm up the glow plugs on the diesel buses on days as cold as this one, of course that is almost irrelevant compared to the safety of children. Congratulations on your morning jog, unfortunately your comparison holds 0 ground. The body is roughly 20 degrees warmer while running than while standing still and has additional circulation through your extremities. This alone significantly reduces you chance of frostbite. Although there is an increased chance of frostbite on your face and nose still if you will be running for more than 1 hr. In addition, children are FAR more susceptible to frostbite than adults. They lose body heat much faster and contain much less thermal mass than an adult. Yes these teenagers might be able to stand outside but you probably don't realize that 1st and 2nd graders are 7 and 8 years old who weigh a whopping 50lbs. Not much thermal mass there. We are talking wind chill values of -17 degrees. Frostbite can set in an adult within 10 minutes and even faster in a child. Temperatures this low are rare enough for the region that many families may not have the appropriate clothing to prepare their child for temperatures that low. Finally, from a pure liability standpoint, the delay is prudent. If a child DOES get frostbite waiting for a late bus, next thing you know we have a lawsuit against the district.
Beth Kramer January 21, 2013 at 09:09 PM
thank you Bill, couldn't have worded it any better!!!
April N. Jackson January 21, 2013 at 09:19 PM
how do we find out what time the buses will come?
Roger January 21, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Can somebody explain why the two hour delay will make any difference on a morning like is expected Tuesday? If the low temperature is 6 degrees at 7:00, what will it be at 9:00? Look at the temperature vs. time curves on these kinds of mornings, and tell us the differences. The explanation of warming the buses, getting the buses started, and similar does not wash. Again, what is the difference in starting the buses at 6:00 a.m., or 8:00 a.m.? If extra time is needed, then the operating crew needs to arrive early to do their assigned task. Remember, trucks and heavy equipment use similar engines, have similar drive trains, and they make their machines work. How are buses any different? Does Giant Eagle get their shipments two hours later because "we needed time to warm up the trucks?" A delay makes sense if snow removal is the primary issue. Roads can improve significantly in two hours with snow removal procedures. But, cold temperatures in these situations do not change in two hours. In fact, some mornings, the lowest temperature happens at 8:00, or 8:30. In this case, snow isn't the problematic factor. Help us out with some explanations.
Oren Spiegler January 21, 2013 at 11:13 PM
As is so often the case, Roger makes an outstanding argument based upon sound and thorough analysis. I am sure the District does not purchase or lease second-rate buses. Are they not shielded from the elements? Why can they not be expected to start when the temperature is seven degrees as is expected to be the case at 7:00 a. m. Tuesday? Is there some special winter-proofed type of bus that is used in a bitter cold climate like that of North Dakota?
Oren Spiegler January 21, 2013 at 11:22 PM
I assume you are referring to me in your criticism, Ms Schuster. You raise a reasonable argument to which I will respond. I acknowledge that this is a superior school district, one that brings many to move to the community. There are many reasons for that, including outstanding teachers, parents, and students. I admire anyone that would accept what amounts to a full-time unpaid position as school director, but I will not thank this Board for anything as it has a blind spot to the taxpayer. Some of the members have refused to respond to legitimate concerns expressed by community residents, including me. One had the audacity to state as she recently fought for the largest property tax increase possible that she was not aware of resistance to it from anyone in the community because no one telephoned her to express concerns: playing us for fools. This Board believes that spending the most equates to having the best district. I do not believe in that tenet. I suspect that like many, you do not care about the amount of the tax burden and place your trust in our leaders. I obviously disagree with that posture. I would like for someone to explain to me how an annual property tax burden in the neighborhood of $8000 on the median priced home enables a middle class community to be sustained. If we follow this Board and the Commissioners that crammed a $27.5 million recreation center palace down our throats, we become a community for only the wealthy. Perhaps that is the goal.
B January 21, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Oren, you act as if the millage rates in USC are higher than surrounding municipalities. When, in fact, Upper St. Clair has lower millage rates than 2 of the 3 surrounding communities. South Fayette and Mt. Lebanon both have higher millage rates and Bethel Park is the same. So I guess you should propose that ALL of the communities have such issues? You might not like the rec center and there may be certain components which were over the top but from a community standpoint, it was needed to compete against surrounding locals. The entire complex (not just the building) is great for the community. I do disagree with the fact that they 'double charge' residents through taxing and membership fees. I can guarantee you that you will NEVER find a community anywhere in the world where everyone agrees with the decisions made by its leadership. Fortunately we live in a democracy, if the leadership was such a problem, they would have been removed from their positions by the voting public. So if you have such a problem, move to another community and pay more taxes.
B January 22, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Without knowing all of the details, I can tell you this. Upper St. Clair is not special in having 2 hour delays for extremely cold days. Pittsburgh isn't special, I just did a quick search around a few major cities in the midwest and they ALL have schools with 2 hour delays. Columbus, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and more. I am sure there is a standard set by the school districts in which a 2-hour delay would be needed. Have you tried calling the district and asking what the guidelines are? Maybe our local reporter can dig into this and find out how they decide to have a 2-hour delay. One of the one notable things I see is that Sunrise does occur between when the buses would normally come and when they are coming. Sure the temperatures are only a few degrees warmer, I am sure they play a part but why don't we see if we can find out.
Tracy Schuster January 22, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Mr. Spiegler: I was indeed referring to your comment. I appreciate that you are an informed citizen, and I consider myself to be the same. We may not see eye to eye on all issues related to the school board, but I suspect we may have more in common than you think. My comment was actually more directed at the fact that you seem to find fault with almost everything and every article that appears on "The Patch"--particularly those related to the school board. I had to laugh when I saw yet another negative comment attached to what was nothing more than a notice of a school delay, and just felt I had to comment. I must ask, however, since you clearly have your own well-thought out and frequently expressed ideas about how the school board should run, have you ever considered running for school board? It is my own opinion that pointing out every single flaw is useless unless we actually take action to change what we feel is flawed. Finally, my real reason for commenting was it just struck me as somewhat funny that you were able to find fault with something as simple as a school delay.
bob balmer January 22, 2013 at 12:25 AM
two hours past you regular time
Oren Spiegler January 22, 2013 at 12:37 AM
Fair enough, Ms Schuster, and thank you for the gracious and respectful reply, and for being willing to stand behind your thoughts with your full name. A number of friends and neighbors have suggested to me that I run for office, including for the Upper Saint Clair School Board. I have not seriously considered it, primarily because I work full-time and have family responsibilities. This is where my admiration for those who have devoted themselves to this unpaid position comes in. Even for those who do not work outside the home, such a post is highly demanding and can require one to remain for meetings lasting far into the evening. A member of the Republican Committee recently stated at Patch that we are subjected to the type of Board that currently rules because it is not possible to get good people to run. The reason the two-hour delay is an issue for me is based on my conclusion that it was being done to insulate our students from the slightest challenge. If the delay is being enacted for some other reason, then I will gladly stand corrected. I also reacted with disgust when school closings occurred on the day after the Super Bowl in which the Steelers played, something which I believe sends the wrong message. Thank you again for your civility.
Duke January 22, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Bryan - Your statement that the recreation center "was needed to compete against surrounding locals" is the most asinine statement I have have ever read! What, pray tell, is Upper St. Clair competing for?
B January 22, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Duke, if you have to ask that question, it's not even work garnishing an answer. The 'asinine' statement is that you truly don't understand how local communities are in an ever evolving competition for families.
Duke January 22, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Bryan - I don't think any of the local communities are "competing" for families. If they were, maybe the communities would be giving tax breaks to those families thinking about moving into their community such as our state and local governments give tax breaks to businesses moving into their jurisdiction but as yet I havn't seen that happening.
Duke January 22, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Bill - Why should you have to pay a premium to live in Upper St. Clair? Because it is a great place to bring up kids? I recently read that there is more drug usage among the teens in USC than in surrounding communities. That tells me that USC is not the greatest place to bring up kids!
Robert A. Shoaf January 22, 2013 at 05:34 PM
I have lived in USC for 26 years, and , overall, I am pleased, and proud that I live here. Since residing here, I have found the local government services to be first class, and quickly responsive, at least to a minor emergency we had a few years ago. The roads are always well maintained, and snow removal is top notch. Yes, I wish taxes were lower, and I am often displeased with the actions of the school board, some of whom seem to be members for life. To be fair, I have to temper my grumbling with the realization that the top-rated school system is likely THE prime reason for folks moving here, and it helps maintain property values as well. My closest friends live in Mt.Lebanon, and we in USC should be thankful that our school board did not botch the USC High School renovation project as has been done by our neighboring school district, Constant cost overruns, poor oversight of the entire project, and a sharp increase in taxes, do not reflect well on the Mt.Lebanon School Board or administration. No community is perfect, even Upper St. Clair( !!) , but, overall, I feel fortunate to live here. Oh; Mr. Spiegler, please continue to post as often as you like. I may not agree with you on every topic, but I enjoy reading your opinion. Not that you need my permission!
Oren Spiegler January 22, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Thank your for your kindness, Mr. Shoaf. I feel the same about you. You are an intelligent person who comprehends what he reads. You have valuable comments to contribute to this often-uncivilized forum. I also appreciate that you are willing to stand behind your strong opinions with your full name. I look forward to reading your opinions in the future.
bob balmer January 23, 2013 at 08:52 PM
He sends his op-ed pieces all over the country. wherever there is a newspaper he sends it.
JJ January 26, 2013 at 06:38 PM
I really don't have the time to read all of this, but you are pretty ignorant. The two hour delay is because they can't warm the buses up on time. That's it. Kids are not lazy. It's for our safety. If we get get to sleep in. good for us! You Mr Speigler, are a fun sucker.


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