Wake school board approves new bell schedule

April 18, 2012 2:17:08 PM PDT
The Wake County School Board approved a new bell schedule plan Tuesday evening by a 5 to 3 vote. Those bell changes are expected to save the district $4.8 million next school year.

Under the revamped plan, no school will face a time change of more than an hour and fewer schools would face a change in start times of more than 30 minutes.

One of the most vocal groups to the original bell schedule plan was Davis Drive Elementary. Parents there voiced concerns when the first proposal would have changed their start time from 7:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. The new plan changes their start time to 7:35 a.m. and the elementary and middle school students will ride buses together.

Click here to see the updated bell schedule. (pdf.)

"We listened to more than 1,000 parents, we made adjustments where possible, and we came up with a good compromise solution that will still save money, while helping better accommodate the schedules of our families," said Tata. "Changing our transportation model is necessary to make the best use of funds in a tough budget year, but safety and good customer service remain among our top priorities in doing that."

This is the first major bell schedule overhaul since 1994.

The results of the new school choice plan were another hot topic at Tuesday's meeting. A public hearing gave parents, many of them angry, a chance to vent their frustrations on the selection process. Several parents expressed frustration at the process so far.

"A saying from my childhood comes to mind," said parent Amy Lee. "Liar, liar pants on fire. Mr. Tata, are your pants on fire? From the public's prospective, they are a raging inferno."

Noticeably absent from Tuesday's meeting was board member John Tedesco, who is running for state school superintendent.

"Mr. Tedesco is neglecting his duties on this board today to campaign at a Tea Party event in Winston-Salem," said Lee.

School board member Debra Goldman, who is running for state auditor, was also invited to the Tea Party event Tuesday evening. However, she said it was important for her to be at the school board meeting because it was an important vote and because it is her current office which she was sworn to uphold.

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