Q and A: School start timeThis is the first of a two-part question and answer series addressing questions raised by the Superior School Board’s proposed plan to change school bell times. Part two of the series will run in Friday’s paper.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
This is the first of a two-part question and answer series addressing questions raised by the Superior School Board’s proposed plan to change school bell times. Part two of the series will run in Friday’s paper.
The Superior School Board was bombarded with questions earlier this month after considering a proposal to change bell times for all eight schools in the Superior school district.
The outpouring of public concern led the School Board to delay action at its regular meeting in April, but the Board is expected to address the matter again in two weeks.
“I would suspect that by that May meeting the Board will have an answer,” said Jack Amadio, business manager for the Superior school district.
The Superior school district is considering new bell times as part of a plan to streamline bus routes and save an estimated $170,000. The district faces a $700,000 budget deficit for the 2012-13 school year.
In anticipation of a high crowd turnout, both May meetings will be held at Superior Middle School. The School Board will discuss possible changes to school bell times at the committee of the whole meeting on May 7 and vote on the matter at the regular meeting on May 14.
“The truth of the matter is, we have to come in on budget,” said Janna Stevens, Superior superintendent. “Whatever we do we have to come in on budget. We feel that this was the right thing to bring to the Board for consideration.”
What is the earliest a student will be picked up?
High school and middle school students would have the earliest possible pick-up times under the new plan. Currently, the first students on those routes are picked up at 6 a.m.; that would change to 6:15 a.m. if the new start times are approved.
At the elementary school level, Lake Superior would have the earliest pick-up time — 6:30 a.m.
Four Corners’ earliest pick-up time would remain the same (7 a.m.) and all other elementary schools would could have students boarding the bus as early as 7:15 a.m.
Bus pick-up times
Bryant 8 a.m. 7:15 a.m.
Cooper 8 a.m. 7:15 a.m.
Four Corners 7 a.m. 7 a.m.
Great Lakes 8 a.m. 7:15 a.m.
Lake Superior 7:15 a.m. 6:30 a.m.
Northern Lights 8 a.m. 7:15 a.m.
Superior Middle School 6 a.m. 6:15 a.m.
Superior High School 6 a.m. 6:15 a.m.
What is the latest a student will return home?
If the School Board approves the bell times presented at April’s meeting, Four Corners Elementary School would have the latest release time at 3:45 p.m.
Stevens said Four Corners students would return home no later than 5:15 p.m.
What other options may be considered at Four Corners?
At April’s School Board meeting, numerous parents and teachers came forward with concerns about the administration’s plan to move Four Corners’ start time from 8:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
“I would agree with the concerns raised about Four Corners,” Stevens said. “Having them start at 9:15 a.m. in their classrooms, I don’t think that is the best situation. I know in order to make this transportation adjustment work, we can’t have them getting there before 8:45 a.m.”
One option the Board may consider is a breakfast-in-the-classroom option for Four Corners, where students begin the day with activities they can perform while eating at the same time. Classes would begin at 8:45 a.m. with that option.
“I don’t think that’s the best scenario either, but I also think that’s some middle ground. That’s some kind of a compromise,” Stevens said.
Stevens said she’d rely on feedback from the teachers at Four Corners to determine if the breakfast-in-the-classroom option is feasible.
Will elementary school students and high school students be transported on the same bus?
Yes. Both Bryant and Lake Superior elementary schools will have students of mixed ages bused together. Lake Superior students will ride with middle school and high school students only in the morning.
Currently, students from Bryant and Cooper elementary schools ride the bus with older students in the morning.
Will students be walking to school or waiting for the bus before daybreak?
Yes, in the winter months students may be waiting at bus stops or walking to school before it is fully light.
Students from Bryant, Four Corners and Lake Superior students currently have the longest bus rides, Stevens said; and those students could be picked up before daybreak in the wintertime.
For students walking to school, Stevens estimated the earliest a child would need to leave home would be 7:10 a.m.
“We have older students who are doing that right now, but I also know that we do try to provide crossing guards at all the different areas, and we would continue that as well,” Stevens said. “Again I can’t say that this is perfect for everyone.”
Will students spend more time on the bus?
One of the criteria considered when reworking the bus routes was the length of time students spend on the bus. On average, Stevens said the length of time students spend on the bus will not increase.
The longest bus rides at Four Corners and Lake Superior are currently 1 hour, 30 minutes and 1 hour, 45 minutes, respectively. Those times would remain unchanged, Stevens said.
School start and dismissal times
Current times Proposed times
Bryant 8:45 a.m.-3:15 p.m. 8:25 a.m.-2:55 p.m.
Cooper 8:45 a.m.-3:15 p.m. 8:10 a.m.-2:40 p.m.
Four Corners 8:45 a.m.-3:15 p.m. 9:15 a.m.-3:45 p.m.
Great Lakes 8:45 a.m.-3:15 p.m. 8:10 a.m.-2:40 p.m.
Lake Superior 8:45 a.m.-3:15 p.m. 8:10 a.m.-2:40 p.m.
Northern Lights 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 8:10 a.m.-2:40 p.m.
SMS 8:10 a.m.-3:05 p.m. 8:25 a.m.-3:15 p.m.
SHS 8:15 a.m.-3:05 p.m. 8:40 a.m.-3:30 p.m