Icy roads cause school delays in Stevensville

Stevensville school district had its first two hour delay of the academic school year because freezing rain turned to snow making dangerous driving conditions for school bus drivers. 

It was a 4:30 wake up call for Stevensville school district transportation supervisor Paul Ludington. 

"I don't like to have to get out at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning, but it's nice to get out there and check to roadways and find out what they're like," Ludington said. 

He has four weather apps on his phone, and whenever there's bad weather, Ludington makes the call to delay or cancel school. 

"I didn't really want to cancel school this week because it's homecoming week," Ludington said. 

Stevensville school district buses transport up to 550 students each day, about half of the district population. Ludington said some bus drivers encountered slick roads this morning, but nothing too crazy. 

"It was a little bit of surprise for them this early in the year," Ludington said. 

His main concern isn't the buses themselves, but other drivers when there is icy roads. 

"I'd hate to have somebody run into a bus," Ludington said. 

Temperatures in Western Montana will drop to the teens Wednesday evening. Tuesday afternoon Ludington was already preparing for tomorrow. 

If it gets 17 degrees or below, we plug [in the buses] the night before so they're ready to go in the morning, so we don't have to worry about hard starting [the buses].

Ludington will have many more 4:30 a.m. wake up calls, but it's a job he takes very seriously to make sure his students are safe. 

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