No more e-mail alert for school district snow days |

No more e-mail alert for school district snow days

Due to cost and lack of demand, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District’s Emergency e-mail Network that alerts families of snow days and other last-minute district happenings has been discontinued.

The district’s software program, which cost $5,000 each year and was capable of alerting 50,000 users at the click of a button, had fewer than 100 participants, according to district Superintendent Dennis Williams.

“Part of the plan to offset the cost was to sell some of the capability to other agencies, like the fire department, that might need to send emergency notification,” Williams said. “But that didn’t happen, and that was our fault for not pursuing it.”

Several attempts were made to increase participation among district families by promoting the service on the district’s Web site and in parent notices, but there was little response, Williams said, making it hard to justify the hefty expense.

“It’s really convenient on snow days because you don’t have to turn on the TV or radio and wait for an announcement, you just get a text message on your cell phone or e-mail early in the morning,” said Harry Lefrak, who has two children in the district. “It could be really important in case of a real emergency; I am really sorry to see that they took it down.”

Last year there were three days of school canceled because of snow, and this year

there have already been four, one with a delayed start, according to district office records.

Williams said the district is already looking into other ways of keeping families informed in case of emergency.

“We are seeing if we are going to be able to implement notification from within,” Williams said, “by entering [contact information] into our database and sending text messages, a call to a cell phone, an e-mail, whatever. Hopefully we can do something to replace it.”

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