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Power outages upset some Victoria school schedules

By Carolina Astrain
Jan. 24, 2014 at 6:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 24, 2014 at 7:25 p.m.

School buses were busy as classes resumed after 10 a.m. Friday. After a few hours delayed by cold weather, VISD  buses safely shuttled students across the district on Friday morning.

Victoria school district students and staff waited in a powerless, cold cafeteria as electricians worked to get the lights back on at Smith Elementary School.

Rachel Gibson was about to drop her daughter off at Smith Elementary School on Friday morning when she noticed the lights weren't on.

"There was no way we were going to leave her there," Gibson, 24, said.

After an attendance clerk warned the parents that they would be charged with truancy if they didn't leave their daughter, Gibson said her daughter burst into tears.

"So I let her stay," Gibson said. "Later, I found out power didn't come back on until an hour after I had dropped her off."

Three Victoria ISD elementary school campuses - Smith Elementary School, Aloe Elementary School and Vickers Elementary School - started the morning in the dark.

Electricity was restored at all three campuses before classes started, said Victoria Superintendent Robert Jaklich.

While some parents left their students on their powerless campuses, Katie Alvarez chose to keep her son at home.

"School should have been canceled, especially Smith since they didn't have electricity," Alvarez, 28, said. "They had kids freezing in the dark."

Jaklich said the decision to keep the schools open with a two-hour delay was made after consulting with Jeb Lacey, emergency management coordinator for Victoria County and the city of Victoria.

The heat was kept on at all 27 campuses overnight, and the district made sure there was going to be enough faculty and staff on campus to feed and teach students who were dropped off at their regular start times, Jaklich said.

Other districts canceled classes Friday.

Administrators at Edna and Goliad school districts and Nazareth Academy canceled classes after the campuses experienced power outages Friday morning.

Absences at Victoria school district campuses Friday will be excused as long as parents send a note to school with their students, explaining that they spent the day home with them, Jaklich said.

"We don't want anyone to feel that they've been treated rudely," said Diane Boyett, Victoria school district communications director, "especially considering the stress everyone is feeling right now."



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