Bus failures close schools

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Classes were canceled at several schools in Western Maine on Tuesday because the extreme cold rendered buses inoperable, SAD 44 Superintendent David Murphy said. 

“There were too many buses that wouldn’t start,” he said. SAD 44 includes Bethel, Greenwood, Newry and Woodstock.

Murphy said the temperature at his Bethel home Tuesday morning was minus 12 degrees.

Buses also wouldn’t start in Regional School Unit 56, which serves Dixfield, Peru, Canton and Carthage, Murphy said, prompting school closings.

Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico canceled classes, as did RSU 73 at its schools in Livermore Falls and Jay, Murphy said. The technology school serves students from all three districts.

Murphy said such closings because of the cold air haven’t occurred since 2002 or 2003. Buses were being worked on Tuesday and “hopefully they’ll be running Wednesday,” he said.

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RSU 56 Superintendent Pam Doyen said Tuesday that transportation workers thought they would be set for the latest blast of arctic air.

“All of our buses were treated and run on Friday, so we thought we would be all set, (but) the buses struggled to start this morning,” she said.

RSU 56 Transportation Director Ken Robbins told Doyen that more than one bus ended up stranded on the road because diesel fuel congealed. Students hadn’t been picked up when that happened, Doyen said.

The Andover School Department also closed its school because of the extreme cold temperatures, town secretary Martha O’Leary said.

mhutchinson@sunmediagroup.net

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