By Sharon Salyer Herald Writer
EVERETT — Elementary schools and most middle schools in the Everett School District could start later beginning this fall, the first scheduling change in 13 years.
The school district is considering the changes because traffic congestion is making it difficult for buses to drop off and pick up students at their schools on time, said Mary Waggoner, school district spokeswoman. A decision could be made school administrators by the end of this school year.
Spreading the time between the early and later starts to the school day would avoid having to pay for extra buses to transport kids as well as having staff spend extra time monitoring buses, she said.
The biggest changes would occur at 11 elementary schools — Cedar Wood, Emerson, Forest View, Garfield, Jackson, Jefferson, Mill Creek, Penny Creek, Silver Firs, Silver Lake and View Ridge — which would start their days 20 minutes later, at 9:35 a.m.
Another big change would occur at Gateway Middle School which would start its day 15 minutes later, at 8:25 a.m.
Some parents are worried about the impact the changes could have, not just on family time but on school performance.
Michelle Hartley’s two children attend View Ridge Elementary School. Changing the school day by 20 minutes may not sound like much, but “I already think they start too late as it is,” she said. Students wouldn’t get out of school until 3:45 p.m. “That’s dark in the winter.”
Her 8-year old son, Kyle Cormick, and 5-year-old daughter, Victoria, wake up at 7 in the morning, she said.
“Young kids are worn out by 3:30 in the afternoon,” she said. “I’d like to know how many buses can’t do the turnaround…and how many they would have to add to make sure the kids weren’t late.”
The schedule changes, if adopted, could save the school district an estimated $162,000 in extra costs, Waggoner said.
Kim Guymon, who helped organize a community group, The Everett School Board Project, said she’s heard from several parents concerned about the proposed schedule changes.
“I’ve talked to a lot of moms at church and they’re not happy about it,” she said.
Working moms are concerned because getting to work on time is already hard enough, she said.
“The district is saving money but will it pay off?” Guymon asked. “The parents are getting the short end of the stick again.”
Waggoner said the school district also has heard from parents concerned about work schedules and getting their kids to activities after school.
The school district is waiting to see how much money the Legislature will approve for public education, she said. “If there’s more funding available from the state to not be diverting classroom dollars into bus routes, that would be great,” Waggoner said.
Parents who want to share their opinions on the schedule changes with the school district can email them to SchoolStartTimes@everettsd.org. The school district also will post a survey on the topic when school resumes following this week’s spring break, Waggoner said.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Everett School District is considering changing the school day start and end times at many of its schools next year. A decision is expected by the end of this school year. High schools would remain the same. Parents can email their comments to the school district at: SchoolStartTimes@everettsd.org
Here’s the list of schools that could be affected:
Hawthorne, Lowell, Madison, James Monroe, Whittier and Woodside
New school day 8:45-2:55 p.m.; 10 minutes later start and dismissal.
Cedar Wood, Emerson, Forest View, Garfield, Jackson, Jefferson, Mill Creek, Penny Creek, Silver Firs, Silver Lake and View Ridge
New school day 9:35 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.; 20 minutes later start and dismissal.
Eisenhower, Heatherwood, North
New school day: 8:25 a.m.- 2:55 p.m.; 10 minutes later start and dismissal.
New school day: 8:25 a.m. – 2:55 p.m.; 15 minutes later start and dismissal.
School day: 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; no change