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December 19, 2011 04:55 PM

School District Hoping For Brown Christmas

Tea, SD


Many people would like to see a fresh layer of white snow on the ground in time for Christmas.

But the brown grass is actually good news for cities and school districts that are short on green.  In fact, administrators with the Tea District wouldn't mind if the first storm of the season holds off a little longer.

"Financially, it's a good thing for the school district to not have a lot of snow," Superintendent Jerry Schutz said.

Schutz says the district cut nearly half a million dollars from this year's budget to deal with steep cuts at the state level.  Right now, the lack of snow is helping save money, but as soon as the flurries fly, the bills will go up.

"Our main parking lots, our intermediate high school parking will run us over $1,000 per time we have to move the snow and that's just the contract work," Schutz said.

Overtime and equipment costs must also be factored in.  A snow day means more money and time.

"I don't like those days that throw you for a loop and get you out of your rhythm," high school Principal Al Laboranti said. 

Laboranti prefers the dry weather to keep kids on track. The school calendar doesn't have any wiggle room for snow days. They'd have to be made up at the end of the year, which would cost even more money.

A brown Christmas is looking bright for district officials who have to balance the budget, but as for students, they have a different view.

"I think it's pretty pathetic because it's December," student Sydney Zabel said.

They'd rather see snow out their classroom window, or better yet, they'd rather have it keep them home.

"It's kind of a bummer it's not snowing yet," student Austin Jaacks said.

A bummer for those who want to enjoy the white stuff, but an early Christmas present for those who don't want to pay for it.

"It is saving us money and money is really tight right now, so yes, it is a good thing," Schutz said.
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