Some Wake schools could start class later

Posted March 19, 2010 1:36 p.m. EDT
Updated March 19, 2010 11:13 p.m. EDT

Budget cuts could prompt Wake County school board members to change the start time for most of the district's elementary schools, beginning with the new school year.

Wake County Public School System spokesman Michael Evans said the recommendation is an item for the Board of Education to discuss as part of its approval of schools' proposed bell schedules.

School schedules for 71 of the system's 104 elementary schools would run 25 minutes later, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., allowing buses to accommodate about 2,000 additional bus students and bus riders at four new schools.

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

"We understand it is going to be an inconvenience," Evans said.

Parents like Julie Kopetsky are concerned about the changes and how they would affect parents who work.

“It is pretty major,” Kopetsky said. Her children attend Baileywick Road Elementary School in Raleigh.

Amy Nagle, a mother of four, said the changes would also affect her ability to coordinate her children attending different schools.

“They need consistency, especially start times, finish times,” Nagle said.

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

"There is a lot of pressure to do more with less," Evans said.