Atlanta Mayor Reed promotes staggered release to beat winter storm

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Friday called on schools and private employers to stagger the releases of students and workers to avoid clogging metro roads in anticipation of this weekends mix of ice and snow.

Reed, in an early morning press conference, suggested parents pick up their children from Atlanta Public Schools at 11:30 this morning while private employers send workers home at 12:30 p.m. Reed said city employees would be released by 1:30 p.m.

Reed said his goal is to have everyone off the roads by 4 p.m.

“I know the school system is independent,” he said, “but our recommendation is that if you’re a parent with a child that you need to connect with that you make arrangements to start leaving at 11:30.”

Atlanta Public Schools, however, rejected Reed’s advisement. In a statement, the district said:

"Atlanta Public Schools communicated with the city last night regarding our dismissal plan for inclement weather today. Our staggered release schedule begins at 12:30 p.m. for elementary students, followed by high school at 1:30 p.m. and 2:05 p.m. for middle school. The two-hour early release schedule will remain in place.

“It is important to remember that we must communicate in advance with families to ensure that caregivers are prepared to receive their children when they are released,” the district continued in the statement. “For this reason, we collaborated in advance with the city of Atlanta about our release schedule.”

Story is developing.