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Change in Superior Schools Start Times Raises Concerns

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: May 31, 2019 06:51 PM

Community members in the school district of Superior are concerned about the school board's decision to change the start and end times of the six district elementary schools.

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Concerned parents were collecting petition signatures from the community Friday to rescind the decision that was made on May 13.

The schools have anywhere between a 15 to 30 minutes shift in their start times. This will be in effect starting the 2019-2020 school year. 

The schools affected include Bryant Elementary, Cooper Elementary, Four Corners Elementary, Great Lakes Elementary, Lake Superior Elementary, and Northern Lights Elementary. 

The Transportation Department said they proposed the shift in bell times to address the issue of long ride times and their challenge to recruit and retain bus drivers and fill bus routes. The decrease in bus drivers has to do with work benefits. Some district students are experiencing 90 to 120 minute one way bus rides. 

"We have a common goal, we want to reduce that, we want student safety and to promote their health and wellness but at the same time as parents we want to make sure they have equal chances," Katie Browen, a concerned parent, said.

Parents said the new bell times have a negative impact for reasons relating to legal, financial, safety, health, childcare, and employment.

There's also concerns of students having equal opportunities and access to a full academic school day, extra curricular activities and health and medical appointments.

Parents who have children in Four Corners Elementary have the most concern, with the school changing to a 30 minute later start time.

"We're concerned about the change how it'll affect the students learning starting later in the day and the bus for safety purposes," Brianna Hagen, a concerned parent, said.

The district administrator, Amy Starzecki, sent a letter to parents saying, 

"We are empathetic to concerns and the anxiety that comes with any change, and understand this may cause hardships for some. However, we are striving to improve systems to better meet kids' needs across our entire district, including country schools like Four Corners. We have received feedback for years about how much time students are waiting for the bus after school and the excessively long routes some of our students are experiencing." 

So far organizers of the petition have gathered over 140 signatures from concerned community members to reverse the decision. Organizers also made a petition to have a special meeting with the school board about this.

Organizers will be at Osaugie Trail parking lot from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday gathering more signatures.

Credits

Alejandra Palacios

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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