Local News

School Board Considering New Start Times for Clayton Schools

Posted August 12, 2007 9:55 p.m. EDT
Updated August 12, 2007 11:00 p.m. EDT

— Big changes could be ahead for Johnston County students. The school board is considering new start times for Clayton area schools, but the plan is causing some controversy.

“If this had been planned, it should have been talked about in May,” said PTA President Jennifer Hall. “Trying to get our kids to school by nine is really difficult, especially for working parents. Trying to make arrangements at this late time is difficult as well.”

Initially, principals were told a few weeks ago that high schools would start at 7 a.m., middle schools at 8 a.m. and elementary schools at 9 a.m.

“This will not be a drastic change, but it will make a difference for our parents,” said Crystal Roberts, Johnston County Schools’ spokesperson.

School board members said they have received hundreds of calls, e-mails and voice mails about the issue. Many say they are not happy about the idea of kids going to school at different times. Some school board members said they aren't happy about it either.

“It is mostly affecting families that have multiple children in the school system,” said school board member Donna White. “They will have a two-hour range of kids starting school at 7 o’clock and starting school at 9 o’clock, for instance if they have an elementary child, a middle child and high school child.”

It all comes down to bus schedules. The district is considering adding a third bus route that would in turn affect school start and end times. The proposal would only affect schools in the Clayton district this year. It would go county wide in two years, according to school officials.

The reason for the proposed change is the massive growth in Johnston County, especially in the Clayton area, officials said. Instead of buying extra buses, school leaders would add a route and save money.

The idea is still just a proposal, but it is on the agenda for the upcoming school board meeting Tuesday. Members could vote on it then, just in time to put the plan into effect for the first day of school Aug. 27.