Wake parents concerned about proposed schedule changes

Posted March 22, 2010

— The Wake County Board of Education will consider an item on Tuesday that would change the start time for most of the district's elementary schools, beginning with the new school year.

The proposed bell schedules recommend that most of the district’s 104 elementary schools run 25 minutes later, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., allowing buses to accommodate about 2,000 additional students and bus riders at four new schools.

But some schools, like Heritage Elementary in Wake Forest, would start much later.

Heritage would see its start time change from 7:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and its release time move from 2:25 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Parents concerned about proposed schedule changes Parents concerned about proposed schedule changes

The youngest of Katie Williams' three sons is scheduled to start kindergarten at Heritage next year. She said the proposed schedule changes have her concerned.

"There is no way he is going to make it to 4 p.m. at school," Williams said.

Williams started an online petition to protest the proposal.

"I have received over 180 names on a petition who are against this change just this morning," she said Monday.

The later start times also have some parents concerned they will have to find childcare for their children before- and after-school.

School officials are working on an alternative plan that would allow Heritage Elementary to start at an earlier time, but would require elementary students to ride on the same bus with the middle school students.

The proposed bell schedules are an effort  to save money, Wake County Public School System spokesman Michael Evans said.

The school system runs buses at different times to allow them to run up to three routes in both mornings and afternoons. Currently, schools are scheduled to open between 7:25 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.

The three-tier system saves the school system more than $2.5 million and eliminates the need for 24 more buses and drivers, Evans said.

“We think it is going to be more convenient because we are going to be able to absorb that growth and be more effective and efficient for the taxpayers,” he said.

The school system's $1.2 billion operating budget for 2010-11 cuts about $20 million from the central services budget, which includes transportation funding.

Among other cuts are $7 million in facilities services, $2.5 million in technology services and $1.1 million in instructional services.

The busing schedule needs to be approved by April 1, Evans said, but the board could decide on Tuesday to waive its policy, allowing more time for them to review the schedule.

On Tuesday, the board is also expected to take a final vote on a student assignment resolution that would have students attend schools that are closer to their homes.

The plan in place now buses students across the school district to help achieve socio-economic diversity, where no school has more than 40 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches.

With a large attendance expected at Tuesday's meeting, Wake County Public Schools announced that tickets will be issued to citizens wishing to attend. A ticket will guarantee a seat in the boardroom available to the public.


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  • juliemarie Mar 23, 2010

    Kids have so many demands placed on them at such a young age, and it keeps getting worse every year. When I saw this cartoon I immediately thought about the situation in Wake Co.

  • ncsqrl Mar 23, 2010

    how do we get to the petition mentioned? usu WRAL provides links upon links to info - why is it missing here?

  • SS67 Mar 23, 2010

    always a better way if you're willing to pay for it...

  • duvler Mar 23, 2010

    It makes more sense to start the younger ones later rather than the older ones earlier. As it is the high-school kids are on the bus stop at 6:30 a.m. Many adult workers aren't even on the road to work by then. I suppose the people with the little kids now will want it changed when their kids are the ones out on the bus stop that early.

  • Remy Mar 23, 2010

    They should just start the high schools earlier so the little ones do not have to start so late. I keep hearing about "15" minutes later start, my elementary child's school will now start 25 minutes later. Sure does make for a short afternoon when they get home.

    We live 1.5 miles from the school and it already takes 30 minutes for them to get home due to busses running multiple routes. Some times the earlier routes run late, and make it even later before my child gets home. They get home and have about 1 hour then it is dinner, baths, and homework. Seems like there has to be a better way.

  • Frank Downtown Mar 23, 2010

    This is the change you voted for!!!

  • nic Mar 23, 2010

    Wake School Board please do not disrupt our schedules again. First it was year round, then Wacky Wed and now changing to a later bell schedule. Think about the afterschool activites that children will miss because they are sitting on a bus at 4:30.

  • SME2 Mar 23, 2010

    I wonder how much the survey and other studies have cost WCPSS since the new board came on. Maybe they could have used that money for buses.-lwilhelm1

    I am sure nothing since they are all knowing and have no need for such things. Besides they are too busy paying their buddy Lawyer to find out if comments made will cost them legally.

  • SME2 Mar 23, 2010

    Once again Tedesco and the "New Board" have not thought through their ideas fully before opening their mouths. I am glad to see the majority in their districts realize their mistakes and these people will be out after one term.

  • uncrulez Mar 23, 2010

    The Wake County Public School System is not free daycare.

    If you are using it as such, you run the risk of a scheduling change causing you grief.