Wake might shift schools' start, dismissal times to save $10M

khui@newsobserver.comFebruary 7, 2012 

Wake county school buses are lined up in this file photo.

N&O FILE PHOTO

— Wake County school administrators are proposing changing the start and dismissal times for nearly all of the district’s schools this fall to avoid $10 million in extra costs.

In a proposal presented today, the majority of Wake’s schools would start and end 10 minutes later. But 42 schools would see their schedules shift by 11 or more minutes this fall. Eighteen schools might change by 50 minutes or more.

Bob Snidemiller, the school district’s director of transportation, said the changes are needed to avoid a $4 million cut in state funding that would result in bus service being less efficient. He said it would also avoid the need to spend as much as $6.3 million more in purchasing and operating additional buses.

“We need to increase efficiency by transporting more students on our buses while cutting our costs,” Snidemiller said.

Snidemiller said the changes would allow Wake to reduce the number of buses now in service by 60 and also avoid having to add 52 more buses to keep up with growth this fall.

Wake transports more than 75,000 students a day.

Under the new schedule, the majority of elementary schools in Wake that now run from 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. would operate from 9:25 a.m. to 3:55 p.m. In addition, several elementary schools that now start at 8:30 a.m. or earlier like Adams, Davis Drive and Green are proposed now to start at 9:25 a.m.

The new schedule proposes having some high schools that now start at 8:05 a.m. - such as Broughton, East Wake, Green Hope and Sanderson - begin this fall at 7:25 a.m. It would put those schools in line with the majority of Wake high schools that currently start at 7:25 a.m.

Snidemiller said the changes won’t significantly impact ride times.

“The average ride time is 16 minutes,” he said. “We don’t think it’s really going to increase it all that much.”

No decision was made today on the bell schedules. The school board has until April 1 to adopt them for this fall. But some board members urged adopting it sooner than later because it could impact the decisions that families are now making in the student assignment selection process.

Hui: 919-829-4534

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