Another major change for Wake schools?

March 19, 2010 6:21:51 PM PDT
A proposal to create a later start time for nearly 100 schools will be taken up by the school board on Tuesday.The plan would push the start time and the end time back 25 minutes and could be a major inconvenience for parents.

"To be honest, that would probably be a little difficult for us, because of work," Joyner Elementary School parent Hannah Boston said.

"It's hard enough getting your child to school and then being to work by 8 or 8:30 a.m.," Joyner Elementary School parent Carolyn Watkins said.

But Michael Evans, spokesman for the Wake County School System, says it's all about saving money.

Evans says moving the bell times around at about 90 schools, 70 of which would be elementary schools, would create major savings in the transportation budget. He says school busses would be better able to accommodate growth in the system.

"This would allow us to absorb four new schools coming on line, 2,000 more students than we have now, which will bring us to about 73,000 students riding the busses every day in Wake County," Evans said. "And it would allow us to do that by saving the cost and equivalency of 24 busses and 24 bus drivers."

But some parents are concerned about the fact that picking up kids from school would be even harder to manage.

"It's only 25 minutes, I hear that, but still, it's hard enough as it is," Watkins said.

The change in start time is just one of many proposals up for a vote on Tuesday.

The most controversial is the push to end the diversity policy. The board has already decided to switch to neighborhood schools, but a final vote takes place next week.

Also on Tuesday, board members will publicly ratify their decision to put Superintendent Del Burns on administrative leave.

Last week, the board made the decision in a closed session, sparking criticism.

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