Decatur schools closed for want of water: no decision yet on make-up day

A water main break has Buford Highway shut down in both directions in Doraville, authorities said.
A water main break has Buford Highway shut down in both directions in Doraville, authorities said.

The closure of Decatur schools for a water main break Wednesday marks the seventh day this school year that class was cancelled for an emergency.

The district in DeKalb County, which was crippled by a massive water line rupture, has been forced to close its doors by a tropical storm, a threatened ice storm and actual snow this school year.

Two dozen workers are at the scene along Buford Highway.

In January, the school board decided to make up one of those days. Monday was originally scheduled as a vacation day for students (and a work day for teachers), but class will be held instead.

But there was no decision Wednesday morning about whether to make up this latest cancellation.

“It’s too early to talk about that,” said Courtney Burnett, the spokeswoman for City Schools of Decatur.

Georgia law requires 180 school days, but as a charter school district Decatur doesn't have to comply.

Water service issues have become an abiding problem for the city schools, which must close for sanitary reasons when the water stops flowing to bathrooms. A rupture near the city in October — one resident likened it to a damn break — affected service but was repaired in time for school the next day. But sporadic outages in prior years have forced the closure of at least some of the city's schools.

“Water is an ongoing issue,” Burnett said.

The city schools initially announced a late start, but around 9 a.m. decided to cancel for the day. By then, the streets, normally crowded, were all but empty, except for the teachers driving away from the schools and residents who were toting jugs of water from their cars after a visit to the grocery store.


The AJC's Ty Tagami keeps you updated on the latest happenings in K-12 education issues affecting Georgia. You'll find more on, including these stories:

>>>LIVE UPDATES: Schools, hospitals, government offices impacted by massive water main break

>>>Decatur to make up a school day lost to weather

>>>Atlanta weather: not a topic for polite conversation

>>>Sinkhole forms after water main breaks in Decatur

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