5,000 respond to school schedule survey
EVERETT - The Everett School District may be ready to release the results of a survey on proposed new school start and end times this week.
The district’s survey received 5,356 responses and 1,200 comments through an online survey, which closed last week, facilities director Mike Gunn said.
The district is still reviewing the data and may have the responses compiled this week, district spokeswoman Mary Waggoner said.
The district is waiting to see the state’s education budget before it determines the school schedule for next school year.
The district is considering changing start and end times for some elementary and middle schools because of rising transportation costs. The original proposal had some elementary schools starting 10 to 20 minutes later and most middle schools would starting 10 minutes later. The school day would end later in the afternoon, so the length of the school day will not be shortened.
District officials say changing school start times will save the district $163,000 in transportation costs. Currently, the district has to dispatch extra buses to cover the regularly scheduled buses when they run late due to afternoon traffic.
So far, the district has added eight bus routes to make up for the congestion and to get students home on time.
The survey asked about four options: one keeps current bus times, and three other options move school times earlier and later in the day. Two of the proposals change high school start and end times, which is a new idea.
The district received $4.8 million in state money for transportation but has spent $7 million.
Transportation funding comes out of the same fund for teachers and textbooks.
The $163,000 would go a long way and every little bit saved helps, Waggoner said last week.
If the state gives the district more money for transportation, then it would send out the extra buses “in a heartbeat,” Waggoner said previously.
Starting classes a few minutes later will eliminate the need to dispatch extra buses, the district said.
The district hasn’t changed the bus schedules since 2001, Waggoner said.
The changes are needed to save money, but the district learned how much it upset parents, Gunn said last week.
Some working parents say starting school later will make it more difficult to get their kids to school in the morning. Other parents don’t want their kids walking home in the dark after school. The latest scheduled elementary schools would end classes at 3:45 p.m. In the winter, it gets dark around 4 p.m.
School schedule changes are an administrative decision, but the Everett School Board can give its input, Waggoner said previously.
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