Wake County School Board OK's contentious school bell changes for fall

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- School bell schedule changes typically raise eyebrows with parents, and Tuesday night's Wake County School Board vote is an unpopular one for many families.

The board voted to approve schedule changes at five WCPSS schools:

  • Briarcliff Elementary- 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
  • Cary Elementary- 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
  • East Cary Middle- 8:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Apex High- 7:25 a.m. to 2:18 p.m.
  • Fuquay-Varina High- 7:10 a.m. to 2:03 p.m.

Briarcliff and Cary elementary schools will move their start times back 45 minutes and East Cary Middle will begin 45 minutes later.

Apex High School will begin 15 minutes later, while Fuquay-Varina High will start 10 minutes later.

The board's vote to approve the new bell schedule comes after weeks of public and online discussion.

Many elementary school families were vocal in their opposition, arguing the plan would bring a lot more stress to working families.

But the state's largest school district insists the changes are needed to accommodate the four new school opening this fall - with a finite number of school buses to serve them.

ABC11 asked WCPSS school board president Dr. Jim Martin about the complaints that the board shows no consideration for working families.

"We have the same message we have to have every year... that we work very hard to make sure that value at the end of the bus ride is high," Martin said. "And we recognize that a lot of the other challenges about the bus ride, the bell schedules. These are challenges that are a reality that we have to face because of limited resources."

Tuesday night's vote comes on the heels of the board's discussion earlier this afternoon about its ailing school bus fleet. Three-hundred buses need repairs to the tune of $5 million.

With the state no longer footing the bill for school system transportation repair costs, the board is now discussing a plan to request the money from Wake County commissioners.
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