Subzero temperatures cause mechanical problems for West Michigan schools

    Subzero temperatures cause mechanical problems for West Michigan schools. (WSBT - FIle/Photo provided by South Bend schools)

    Schools all over West Michigan tested buses Thursday and watched road conditions, many held off on any cancellations for Friday, Feb. 1, but others closed.

    The superintendent of Marshall Schools cancelled classes Friday because two-thirds of district school buses wouldn't start due to low temperatures and more than 1,000 kids in the area depend on a bus for a ride.

    Most districts in West Michigan still don't know if they'll be open Friday. It depends on how low temperatures get and road conditions. Many schools spent Thursday testing their buses that have been sitting for days in the bitter cold, making sure they'll start. because if they don't that could lead to cancellations.

    Angela Bishop, Lakeview Schools transportation director, is in charge of making sure buses are ready to pick up kids Friday morning.

    "That's our main priority, the safety for the kids, having the buses ready to go and not delaying the stops," Bishop said.

    That's a task easier said than done. Subzero temperatures cause the diesel engines on these buses to stop working.

    "We had four that didn't start. Our mechanic got two of them to start, took about two hours to get them to start. We have two sitting in the garage right now that they are working on. That hopefully they'll have ready for tomorrow morning," said Lakeview Schools Superintendent Blake Prewitt.

    Prewitt had already used six inclement weather days and wants to see the doors in his district back open Friday.

    "Our maintenance have been in 12-hour, 14-hour days checking all the boilers all the furnaces. They've been working their tails off all week," Prewitt said.

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