A news conference is set shortly by the Pulaski County School District to announce a change in bell schedules for the coming school year. It sounds as if the district will not press ahead with a schedule that had been widely criticized by parents and teachers in part because it was going to put some elementary students on buses as early as 6 a.m.
The news release follows. Start times will be later for young students, earlier for older students.
PULASKI SCHOOL DISTRICT RELEASE
The Pulaski County Special School District is modifying the start times for schools for the 2010-2011 school year, which begins August 19.
According to Tim Clark, president of the PCSSD Board of Education, elementary students will now have a later start time, while middle- and high-school students’ start times will move up.
“We have been reviewing our options related to our bell schedules for months, and there was much to consider including bus routes, costs and the fact that we had our youngest students having to get up so early,” Clark said.
“One of the biggest changes is that elementary students, who will now start at approximately 8:30 a.m., will be able to be dropped off as early as 7:30 a.m. for breakfast,” he said. “This will accommodate our parents who have to be at work by 8 a.m.”
Clark said after-school programs for elementary students will be offered until 4:30 p.m. to allow parents extra time to pick up their students.
Charles Hopson, the district’s superintendent, said the extra time in the morning and afternoon will be used for enrichment and intervention opportunities.
“Yes, there will be a cost associated with putting staff in place to provide supervision and additional educational opportunities. But if we’re going to put students first, this is what we need to do,” Hopson said.
The district’s middle and high schools will now begin classes at 7:30 a.m., with doors opening at 7 a.m. for breakfast, Hopson said.
“This will help our older students who have to work in the afternoons or have after-school activities,” he added.
Hopson said he understands these changes are being made close to the start of school.
“We have been exploring every possibility related to scheduling options. These are complicated, logistical issues that involve many aspects of the district. The bottom line is at the end of the day we have done what is in the best interest of our kids.”
Bus schedules will be available early next week on the district’s website — www.pcssd.org.