Common Council member Nora King's status on her Facebook page Wednesday evening read, "Norwalk is the only school who has cancelled for tomorrow. Does this clearly demonstrate a city that is not operating correctly? I think so!"
Norwalk Public Schools canceled classes for Thursday, the second day in a row after a major storm dropped more than a foot of snow in the area.
A check by TheDailyNorwalk.com showed that it would have been difficult to open schools Thursday. As of noon, the parking areas at Nathan Hale Middle School and Naramake Elementary School, both on Strawberry Hill Avenue, had not been cleared. Plowing of Norwalk High School, the third school on Strawberry Hill Avenue, had just begun. Across town, Brien McMahon had not been plowed by noon. At 1:30 p.m., the plows had made their way to Nathan Hale and Naramake. The city's Department of Public Works, not the school district, is responsible for clearing school parking lots.
"This is another example of the DPW not doing their job," King said in an interview. King, a member of the Common Council's Public Works Committee, has been a vocal critic of the DPW on several issues.
"There is a lack of accountability with the DPW," she said. "They should have a plan and a strategy for how they are going to plow the streets and schools, and it should be posted on the Internet."
Hal Alvord, director of Norwalk's Department of Public Works, could not be reached for comment.
King also said the department should shed its reluctance to hire contractors. "If the DPW can't plow the schools on time, then they should have outside plow companies come and do it," she said. City budgets are tight, King said, but added that the DPW has 102 employees and suffered no budget cuts last year.
King also pointed out that Norwalk was the only area district that canceled school: Most had delayed openings. "There is a loss of productivity for parents," said King. Several working parents commented on TheDailyNorwalk.com's Facebook page that they took their children to work with them or worked from home.
Was the school snow day an inconvenience for you and your kids? Do you wish they had gone to school on Thursday? Leave a comment below.
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