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New School Start Times, Effective Sept. 20, 2023

September 13th, 2023

The following is adapted from a message sent by HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano to HCPSS families on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023:

I am writing to share school start time changes that will take effect on Wednesday, Sept. 20, to better support the on-time arrival of school buses. It has been frustrating to know that thousands of students are experiencing delays that have interrupted instructional time at the beginning of the day and that some students are getting dropped off nearly two hours after their dismissal.

During the first few days of the school year, we addressed several logistical issues that impacted transportation. However, despite these adjustments, the biggest issue impacting the ability of bus drivers to deliver students to school in the morning and home in the afternoon on time is insufficient time between our school start times. Buses quickly become delayed at our earliest schools based on insufficient route timing, traffic delays, and competing with student drivers/car drop-offs entering and exiting schools at the same time. This results in a domino effect, and buses become later and later as they serve additional schools on their routes.

Board of Education policy allows me to adjust start times by 10 minutes or less. To build additional time into the student transportation schedule and prioritize getting every student to school on time, I am utilizing this flexibility to shift school start times effective Wednesday, Sept. 20. Start times will continue to follow the tier model the Board of Education approved in February.

Tiers Current Time New Time (effective 9/20/23)
Tier 1 high & middle schools 8:00 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. 7:50 a.m. – 2:35 p.m.
Tier 2 middle schools 8:40 a.m. – 3:25 p.m. 8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Tier 2 elementary schools 8:40 a.m. – 3:10 p.m. 8:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Tier 2 AM Pre-K 8:40 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. 8:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Tier 2 PM Pre-K 12:40 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. 12:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Tier 3 elementary schools 9:15 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. 9:25 a.m. – 3:55 p.m.
Tier 3 AM Pre-K 9:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. 9:25 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.
Tier 3 PM Pre-K 1:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. 1:25 p.m. – 3:55 p.m.

I am sure you will have additional questions. We are working on updating the HCPSS website and FAQs, as well as addressing the impacts this may have on specific groups of students. Please note that the HCPSS Bus Locator is currently offline so it can be updated with the new times. Families will be notified as soon as it becomes available. A daily community update will be provided regarding transportation through September 20.

Adjusting start times is not a decision I made lightly. I know this is a big ask of families several weeks into the school year, impacting the times parents/guardians may need to be home, arrange for childcare, etc., however it is a necessary action. Our schools and staff will continue to be accommodating as students and families adjust to the new start and dismissal times.

Additionally, we anticipate the first day of implementation will not be perfect as bus drivers, students, staff and families adjust to the new times and account for traffic patterns and other factors and I ask for your patience and grace as we begin this implementation. I am optimistic that based on the data and the additional slack in the schedule, we will see improvements in the on-time arrival compared to the current arrival schedule.