Five Wake County schools are proposed to see new start and dismissal times this fall, but school officials say none of the changes are due to the repair work on the Beltline.
Wake County school officials told school board members on Tuesday afternoon that an analysis of the traffic impact of the construction work on Interstate 40 indicates it will not require then to make any changes in school times for the 2014-15 school year. Previously, school officials had warned that major changes such as starting high schools earlier and ending high schools later might be necessary.
David Neter, Wake’s chief business officer, said the analysis conducted by N.C. State’s Institute for Traffic Research and Education (ITRE) showed that the road work will impact some buses in western Wake in the afternoon. But he said that changing the routes will allow them to not have to change the times for those schools.
Later this year, the state will begin rebuilding the busy eight-mile I-40 Beltline section across South Raleigh. This phase, which will last two years, will result in lane closures that back up traffic on the highway in addition to increasing traffic on secondary roads used by motorists as alternatives.
Neter said that five schools are being proposed for changes that aren’t related to the Beltline work.
• Green Elementary in Raleigh is proposed to start 50 minutes later, moving to a 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. time.
• Kingswood Elementary in Cary is proposed to start 10 minutes earlier, moving to a 9:05 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. time.
• West Lake Elementary in Apex would begin five minutes earlier, going from 7:40 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.
Bob Snidemiller, senior director of transportation, said the changes at those schools are being made for efficiency reasons.
For instance, Snidemiller said that Green is starting later because students and staff moving to a temporary campus next to East Millbrook Middle School while their building is renovated. He said that starting at 8:30 a.m. would avoid conflicting with East Millbrook’s time.
Snidemiller said that changing Kingswood’s time would allow students to share the buses with children from Farmington Woods Elementary. Kingwood is converting to a magnet school this year and its drawinng students from the same area as Farmington Woods.
Staff is also recommending that the new Vernon Malone College & Career Academy in Raleigh operate on a 7:25 a.m. to 2:18 p.m. schedule.
The school board was originally scheduled to adopt the new bell schedules today. But amid concerns about not giving parents enough time to comment, the vote will be pushed off until the nextr board meeting in May.