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Parents, students take day off in stride

They had no snowballs to throw, but McDuffie County children were still thrilled with Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue's request that all state school systems take two "early snow days" on Monday, Sept. 26 and Tuesday, Sept. 27.

In a press release, Governor Perdue said this action would save more than 225,000 gallons of diesel fuel per day. Four consecutive days of school building closures, from Saturday to Tuesday, allowed further heating and cooling energy conservation.

"It's ironic to take two snow days when the temperature is 95 degrees," said Dr. Barry O'Neill, McDuffie County assistant superintendent of schools. "That's pretty amazing, because if you think about how much the state pays for teacher's two days work, that's a lot of salary. But I guess this time it's not the money, it's saving the gas."

While her sons, TMS students Aaron and Shawn, both gave a thumbs up to the decision, Cecilia Willis of Thomson was not happy that she had to stay home with her four children.

"It's kind of aggravating. It seems like the governor isn't doing the state budget right. I think education should be more important than all the dollars we spend feeding other countries," Mrs. Willis said.

Julie Owens, a resident of Appling and a guidance counselor at Lewiston Elementary School, was enjoying her day off shopping at Wal-Mart in Thomson. Mrs. Owens said she will have to "squeeze in the missed work with her students, so she won't get off track."

"I don't exactly say I approve, but I understand the reasoning behind it. (Gov. Perdue) went with what he thought was best at that time in light of the situation," Mrs. Owens said.

Most school teachers said they would simply resume their schedules planned for Monday on Wednesday.

"The only thing that will mess us up is our field trips. We had field trips planned this week to Fort Discovery. Fourth grade planned to go Monday, and second grade planned to go Friday," said Jean Story, second grade teacher at Dearing Elementary.

Beverly Allen, cook for Tiny Tots Day Care on Jackson Street, and Clara Bowman, owner of Owls Child Care on Pecan Avenue, both said the governor's proclamation hurt their business, making it "slower than normal."

"When public school is out, daycare centers kids stay home with their big brothers and sisters," said Mrs. Bowman.

Some people found the optimistic side of the situation, enjoying time off work and school.

Tommy Johnson, Vice President of Chardan Limited Clothing Manufacturer in Thomson, took the opportunity to stay home and enjoy more time with his two children. Mr. Johnson said he is divorced from his wife, and he gets to see the children on some week-ends. He arranged for his daughters to spend an extra night this week-end on Sunday, and took a half day off from work on Monday.

"I enjoyed every minute of it. They're a handful, but I love them," Mr. Johnson said.

Margie May said she enjoyed "Grandma time" with her grandson, Michael Ziegler, taking him out to lunch. Michael is a seventh grader in Glascock County.

Mr. Johnson said that his 4-year-old daughter, Shirah got confused with the change of routine, and "kept asking Is it Sunday?' but her 7-year-old sister, Rebecca, celebrated. We had a good time."

The change in routine didn't affect Jacey Owens, 10.

"I don't miss (school) at all. Everybody in my class went nuts when they heard. ...I didn't sleep in because my body is used to getting up early anyway," she said.

Web posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Temperature:53° F
Wind:from the W at 5 MPH
Visibility:10 miles
Dew Point:53° F
Updated: 04-Nov-2010 10:01

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