Madison schools explain decision to stay open Wednesday

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Although school districts across Wisconsin canceled classes Wednesday as the National Weather Service posted a winter storm warning for much of the state, the Madison Metropolitan School District remained open.

Steve Hartley, chief of staff at the Madison Metropolitan School District, said district leaders based their decision in part on the fact that Madison Metro buses planned to be running Wednesday.

Hartley said the forecast seemed manageable since the snow was expected to taper off in the afternoon. He said district leaders feel good about the decision made Wednesday morning to stay open and they still believe it was the right decision.

“In part it’s transportation and I think in part it’s the forecast. When is the snow coming? How long will it be? Will it come during travel times? Those kinds of things are huge considerations for us,” Hartley said.

The district said parents are always free to keep their children home.

Baraboo, Necedah, Wisconsin Dells, Prairie du Chien, Sparta, Tomah and Marshfield were among the districts calling off school on Wednesday as snow accumulated. About 80 schools in the area closed Wednesday.

The heaviest snowfall was expected from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Strong northwest winds are expected to greatly reduce visibility on state roadways. Accumulations of a-half foot of snow or more is forecast.