Delaware News

Delaware schools look to spread out schedule

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There may be a whole new school schedule this fall for the Delaware City School District's 2014-2015 school year.

Multiple contributing factors are leading district officials to consider the schedule changes, with the main one being construction of Dempsey Middle School set to begin this summer.

According to Jason Sherman, director of facilities and transportation, officials want to start the process of implementing these changes now in order to get feedback from parents, teachers and community members.

Currently, the district has two tiers of bus transportation and school start times, but officials want to change it to a three-tiered system.

Proposed changes

CURRENT SCHEDULE

Tier 1 (32 buses)

Hayes High School, 7:25 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Dempsey Middle School, 7:35 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Tier 2 (30 buses)

Willis Intermediate School, 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Elementary schools, 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.

NEW SCHEDULE

Tier 1 (18 buses)

Hayes High School, 7:25 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Tier 2 (30 buses)

Elementary schools, 8:20 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.

Willis Intermediate School, 8:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.

Tier 3 (18 buses)

Dempsey Middle School, 9:05 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sherman said that due to the construction, there won't be enough space to move the amount of buses needed through Dempsey and the high school.

"This will decrease the amount of buses on the road at a given time, which will alleviate some of the traffic congestion." he said.

"Instead of 32 buses doing loop-the-loops through the high school and middle school, we'll have 18 at the high school earlier in the morning, and 18 later in the morning."

Sherman said that having the elementary school busing in the middle, which includes the largest number of buses, will provide more leeway at both ends of the schedule.

Sherman also said officials chose to split up the Hayes and Dempsey bus transfers to avoid having middle school students riding with high school students, which has been presenting some discipline issues.

The district chose not to move the high school schedule, because of the number of programs, after school activities and jobs that the students participate in.

There are many other factors the district has to consider, such as the fact that the elementary school day is increasing by 30 minutes and administrators will need to make sure all teacher contracts can accommodate that change.

If the schedule changes are implemented, there will be fewer buses needed for each tier, which will mean there will be more buses available for field trips and substitutes for main drivers if needed.

Additionally, with Willis Intermediate School being eliminated in the coming years, a change to the busing schedule would be required at that time as well.

One problem Sherman foresees: Families who rely on their middle school students to watch their elementary school siblings after school. Those families will need to make other arrangements, because Dempsey will get out an hour after the elementary schools.

"We know this can cause some problems for families. Although we can't accommodate everyone's wishes ... we're going to do the best we can," he said.

Sherman said the end result of the new schedule should be safe and efficient transportation with minimal disruption to the community.

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