By RON BENNINGFIELD
Weather in this area of the state is so localized that low clouds may be laying down a layer of ice on roads in one end of the county while only a cold rain covers the roadways in another section only a few miles away.
That variance makes the decision of calling off school even more difficult for LaRue County Schools Superintendent Sam Sanders.
Helping him, however, to obtain the best possible and most timely advice on road conditions are Phil Fulkerson, director of transportation and maintenance, Ronald Whitlock, area transportation director, and Nathan Wheeler, head mechanic, who when ice or snow threatens, arise around 3 a.m. to inspect road surfaces.
Each man travels to different areas of the county where buses cover almost 2,000 miles of road daily along 37 routes.
Fulkerson checks out the Maxine area and southern part of the county. Whitlock inspects the Levelwoods, Ball Hollow, Mt. Sherman-Ward Road area, and Wheeler travels the Roanoke area and northern part of the county.
“We look at all the areas and then give our recommendation to the superintendent as to go to school or not,” Whitlock said. “What’s really hard is when bad weather is forecast, but nothing’s happening and it’s time for the buses to be on their routes.”
The decision to go or not go, however, has to come early as the first bus sets out on its 25-mile trip to Levelwoods at about 5:35 a.m.
“When at all possible, Mr. Sanders attempts to make the decision before 6 a.m.,” Whitlock noted. “We put it out on the One-call system to homes of all students enrolled and it’s also on Louisville television stations and local radio.”
The call is always made, however, with the safety of the district’s students in mind.