District Families -
First, we would like to apologize for the live-stream technical difficulties from the February 10 board meeting. The audio version is now available on YouTube. During this board meeting, school day start and end times and school calendars for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years were discussed.
Next year we are pleased to be restoring bus service for many students, including high school. With this increase in busing services, changes to school start and end times are necessary. Since the beginning of the school year, we’ve had a team examining the impact of increased transportation services on school start and end times. This topic was discussed at the October board meeting, and, at that time, the board gave the go-ahead to move forward with increasing transportation opportunities for our students. Click HERE for the new proposed Ineligibility Zones.
There are a multitude of factors that necessitate a change to our current start and end times. Our team has thoroughly examined options, looking at the way in which one building’s needs can create a ripple effect unavoidably impacting all the others. First, school start and end times are largely dictated by transportation-both busing and car traffic. In order for bus drivers to complete their routes, a 50-minute staggered start time is essential. Additionally, we have spread out the start times so that schools near each other do not start or end at the same time. This should dramatically reduce traffic congestion around each of our buildings and increase student safety, which is always a top priority. This will also allow us to more effectively use our current bus drivers–increasing their hours instead of attempting to hire additional drivers given the widespread driver shortage, not only in our district and surrounding communities, but around the state and nationally. The three tier model that were are implementing will impact when the earliest school can start so that it is not too early and when the latest one can start so that it is not too late. Lastly, to a lesser extent, after school activities at both the middle and high schools restrict our options for end times in those two buildings.
It is for these reasons that we are proposing to move from our current two tiers of busing to three tiers next year. The three tier model has been proven effective in other districts similarly challenged with a smaller fleet servicing a larger area. This move will impact school times for next year. The times next year are: BMS 7:30-2:30, SB 8:20-3:00, BHS 8:20-3:20, and BCI 9:10-3:50.
We recognize there have been building time and bus route changes in the past few years due to budget reductions. We appreciate the flexibility and support shown by our parents and caregivers. We are striving to be as efficient as possible with the addition and restoration of bus routes. We also recognize that there will be an impact on those in the ineligible zones with spreading out the start and end times. Undoubtedly, any kind of change impacts families and that is why we wanted to get these times out sooner, rather than later, allowing families time to prepare for next school year. We also want to remind families that there is before and after school daycare through Champions. It is held at Stephen Bell and we do provide transportation to and from BCI.
The district has also proposed calendars for 2022-2023 and 2023-2024. Click HERE to view them. We realize that the proposed start date is about a week earlier than in the past few years. The rationale behind this change is to aid in keeping our semesters relatively even in terms of the number of days and providing families with more flexibility around holiday weekends. You will notice the proposed calendar will start a week earlier with the addition of a couple of long weekends (Sept 16, Jan 13, April 7 &10). The calendar also allows for longer breaks (Thanksgiving and Winter both are one day longer than normal) We would end the school year before Memorial Day. If you would like to provide feedback about the calendars, complete the survey by February 18. One survey per family. Click HERE for the survey.
We thank you for your continued partnership with Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools.