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11-8-23 — Administration Recommends Bell Schedule Change for BoE Approval in December
Nov. 8, 2023 ~ At the November Board of Education meeting, district administration recommended a change to school start and end times beginning in the 2024-25 school year. As a reminder, we have been engaged in this process for over a year to collect feedback and make a decision that will allow access to educational opportunities for all students while also addressing our transportation challenges head-on with a three-tier bus schedule. This change will provide service for all eligible riders, shorter bus rides, lower capacity per bus, and more potential for field trips. Having one bus that serves two or three building levels means a smaller bus fleet, fewer miles, lower fuel costs, and no need to use a third-party transit vendor for some routes. Read more about the work that was done on this prior to this school year.
This school year, parents and staff were surveyed, and secondary student groups had an opportunity to share their input about changing the bell schedule to allow each bus to serve two or three building levels. The start and end time committee held three workshops and involved about 175 individuals. They learned about the district’s challenges and needs before working through two proposed three-tier schedules. Look at all three committee meeting presentations, staff, family and student survey input, FAQs, and the main themes in open-ended feedback responses. Our intention in sharing these documents is to maintain transparency and provide accurate information for our community.
After much discussion and evaluation of feedback from parents, students and staff, the recommended bell schedule for 2024-25 is what was referred to as Option A during presentations.
- High schools and Prairie Learning Center: 7:40 a.m.-2:40 p.m.
- Middle schools and Heartland Early Childhood Center: 8:20 a.m.-3:20 p.m.
- Elementary schools and Harmony Early Childhood Center: 8:55 a.m.-3:55 p.m.
This recommendation is the least disruptive overall to the district with start and end time changes of 20 minutes or less, input from secondary students, staff and parents that supported this schedule, as well as this schedule being a long-term solution to address the labor market with annual financial savings.
As a reminder, the Board of Education will act on the start and end time recommendation during the Dec. 7 regular meeting. This would provide the district, our families and our staff with a full semester and summer to make necessary plans and adjustments for the new start and end times to roll out in the 2024-25 school year.
As a district, we recognize that any solution to our transportation service challenges will directly impact our students, staff and families. However, we are in a position where tough decisions have to be made. We thank you for your continued engagement in this process. For the latest information and updates on the start/end time process including FAQs and survey data, please visit www.olatheschools.org/startandendtime.