Late last evening, the Warren County Board of Education approved a change to school start times for many schools across the district in an effort to decrease costs, address a critical bus driver shortage, increase student opportunities, and improve employee compensation.
Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, middle and high schools will utilize a uniform start time of 7:30 am while the majority of elementary schools will begin the day at 8:30 am. There is no change to the school start times at Bristow, Lost River, Oakland, South Warren Middle & High, Drakes Creek Middle & Greenwood High School. All schools will continue to open their doors at the customary 30 minutes prior to the start of the school day, and Community Education will continue operation of child care services at a number of elementary schools. This service may be expanded to additional schools if there is a definitive need to accommodate more families.
Based upon feedback from parents at the four Parent Forums, the Board of Education has requested that several schools open their doors at no cost prior to the normal 30 minutes to accommodate families with unique circumstances. A 7:45 drop off time will be available at Alvaton, Briarwood, Cumberland Trace, Jody Richards, Natcher, Plano, Rich Pond, & Rockfield elementary schools while a 7:30 drop off option will be available at North Warren, Richardsville, & Warren elementary schools. Any parent wishing to take advantage of the early “drop off” with limited supervision should contact their school principal to explain their individual circumstance.
The decision to change school start and end times will result in an initial savings of more than $1.5 million dollars during the 2015-16 school year and the expected savings thereafter will result in a minimum of $600,000 per year. This change will also have a positive impact on the critical bus driver shortage that is beginning to plague WCPS and districts throughout the state of Kentucky. The alignment of school times at the high school level is also expected to result in increased opportunities for students through the utilization of video technology to increase course offerings for students. Lastly, I am optimistic that these savings will help us improve employee compensation, which will help us remain competitive in recruiting and retaining the highest quality employees who educate our students.
“This was a difficult recommendation to make to our Board of Education because change is always difficult for families. While we never want to increase the burden on our families, we must make very difficult decisions to ensure we are maximizing our limited resources. The positive benefits of this change are significant and we are not in a financial position to pass on this type of reoccurring savings,” said superintendent, Rob Clayton.
The vote comes on the heels of four Parent Forums on School Start and End Times, which were conducted by Mr. Clayton at each of the district’s four high schools. Central office administrators, principals, and school board members were on hand at the forums and spoke informally with parents about questions and concerns.