According to Bill Reentz PhD., Superintendent of Tucumcari Schools, Tucumcari schools failed to open Monday due to hazardous early morning driving conditions. Reentz said he received a call from his transportation supervisor, John Burson, about 4:30 a.m. Monday and Burson said the road conditions were questionable.
“Mr. Burson told me he saw poor driving conditions, “ said Reentz. “He said the people in the rural areas would face hazardous conditions.”
Burson said that between 4 and 5 a.m. the snow was blowing so hard there was almost zero visibility.
“Our first buses start out right around 6 a.m.,” said Burson. “I knew I had to advise the superintendent that I did not think conditions would be safe.”
Reentz said he looked out his window at home and saw blowing snow and trucks crawling along I-40. He said he decided to test the roads himself. About 5 a.m., he began driving around the Tucumcari area.
“I found the roads to be slick and rather hazardous,” said Reentz. “About 5:30 a.m. I decided to make the call that schools would be closed for the day.”
According to Reentz, it is very rare for Tucumcari schools to close unexpectedly.
“Last year we closed only one day due to bad weather,” he said.
Reentz said it is customary for the transportation supervisor to awaken early to check road conditions in winter when bad weather is expected. Reentz said it is a difficult decision to call off school, especially at such an early hour,
“We made the call so early in the morning, but we would rather be safe than sorry.”
Henry Martinez, 11, was happy with the superintendent’s decision to call off school for the day.
“It’s fun,” said Martinez, “I’m going to have a snowball fight or something.”
Martinez said he and his younger brother Johnathon walked to school and found the doors would not open.
“When we got there the doors were locked and no people were around,” said Martinez.
Patrick Rivera, 12, went shopping with his mother at Lowe’s Supermarket Monday morning while he would normally be in class. He said he didn’t have any big plans for the rest of the day.
“I’m just going to watch TV and listen to my rap music, “ he said.
Jacob Hyslop, 10, echoed both Martinez and Rivera in his being able to find alternatives for the time he would not be in school. He spent part of his day at the Tucumcari Public Library.
“My mom heard on the radio at 6 a.m. this morning that school was closed,” said Hyslop. “My friend and I rode our bikes over here to the library around ten to play games on the computer.”