As if Tuesday's Wake County school board meeting agenda couldn't get any more packed, here comes a proposed 2010-11 bell schedule that would see most elementary school students start at 9:30 a.m.
Under the new schedule, 71 of Wake's 103 elementary schools would run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The later start time will likely be an aggravation for families.
The changes are taking place at the same time there are $3.8 million in proposed school transportation budget cuts.
With the cuts and Wake's use of the three-tier bus system, administrators want more time to make runs to handle routes on the later tiers. This means any school that's starting at 8 a.m. or later this year will begin and end later this fall.
With most elementary schools on the third tier, it's the youngest kids that would bear the brunt of the cuts.
Board policy says that bell schedules must be adopted by March 31.
Click here for the proposed bell schedules.
Click here to see the 2009-10 schedules.
Click here for the 2008-09 schedules.
It may be fairer to compare 2010-11 with 2008-09. That year was pre the changes made to accommodate the weekly Wednesday early dismissals.
If not for the budget cuts, schools would likely have reverted to their 2008-09 times. For instance, a school now proposed to run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. probably would have been back at 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Modified the sentence because school officials say the changes aren't a direct result of the $3.8 million in budget cuts. But they are saying they're being proposed to save money. They're saying the later start times would allow them to absorb the equivalent of picking up 24 new bus loads of students without having to buy new buses for this fall.
School board chairman Ron Margiotta said they may postpone Tuesday's vote to give more time to review the changes. It looks like board members didn't get the specifics on the new schedule until today,