- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Winter-weary residents expecting the beginning of March to mark the end of snowfall should recheck their almanacs — 8.7 inches fell in the D.C. area in 1999 and a whopping 19.3 inches dropped in 1914.

Students likely are among those hoping for the snow to end because several school districts are near or at their limit for snow days , so additional days off would cut into summer vacations.

Maryland public school students must attend 180 days of school, said Teresa Tudor, an administrator for Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

Miss Tudor said that the county already has used its four scheduled snow days this year and that others would be made up first on a scheduled April 22 holiday,and then at the end of the school year.

Most of the other school districts have similar plans. However, Prince William County Public Schools have no scheduled snow days, and students can miss as many as 10 unscheduled days because they attend classes for more than Virginia’s minimum of 180 days for six hours per day.

The several snowstorms that hit the area this year also have pushed some snow-removal budgets to their limits.

The Maryland State Highway Administration budgeted $21 million this season, but has spent about $45 million to remove snow, ice and slush from about 16,000 miles of state roads.

“I don’t think it is to anyone’s surprise that we’ve been long since away from what’s budgeted,” said David Buck, an agency spokesman. “We used $5 million to $6 million for this past storm. We went four straight weekends of having storms, and weekend storms are very expensive since you have to pay overtime.”

Mr. Buck said the agency regularly goes as much as $15 million over budget, but that snow removal is so essential that state officials are willing to give more money.

“We’ve always been able to go in after the fact and get the money we’ve needed to,” he said.

Mr. Buck said the agency goes over budget, in part, because officials would rather give money to other agencies and programs than “leave money on the table” in the transportation budget.

District government officials said cleanup efforts after this week’s storm have depleted their $4 million budget and that another storm could force them to ask for additional money.

“The mayor and [city] council have always made clear that snow [removal] is the kind of thing that we should make sure is done correctly and properly,” said Bill Rice, spokesman for the D.C. Department of Transportation. “As you can guess with snow, because it is so unpredictable, it’s kind of an arbitrary budget.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is the only agency in the area that has not gone over its snow-removal budget. Despite battling the same storms that hit the rest of the region, VDOT remains about $10 million under its $24.5 million limit.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide