“My children’s school was canceled today, because of what … some ice?” he said. As one of his girls pointed out, Obama added, “in Chicago, school is never canceled. … You’d go outside for recess. You wouldn’t even stay indoors.”
I was at AU during the ice storm of 1994. School was shut down for an entire week. I remember hearing, at the time, that the District only owned one salt truck. And it was out of salt.
A few years ago, after my office consolidated some operations in DC, many of my colleagues moved there from Chicago. The first snow day they had, I was poking fun at the transplants. I might have used the word, “pansy”. My friend John said, “It’s not our fault the government shuts down! The Metro shuts down! The whole place shuts down!”
Since Chicago is in the midst of its second horrid winter in a row – and by “horrid” I mean Lake County whines that Cook County is bogarting all of the salt and Cook County has run out its budget to pay the overtime to the people that drive the salt trucks – I have a bit more sympathy for how much it freakin’ costs to clean up the mess. So I can see how DC, with insane commutes on a good day, just finds it easier to shut down.
Also, I read a book last year about the Chicago Public Schools. One reason they don’t shut down for snow is the huge number of kids on the hot lunch program. The fear is that if they don’t go to school, some kids literally won’t eat that day.
Finally – with snow you clear it away. I find ice rather scarier. I believe it is not just about the roads, but the power lines.
So I’m not making fun today. I’ll leave that to the President!
Edit to add: WGN news just ran this story and added that the last time the Chicago Public Schools closed for snow was January 1999.