New bell schedules for Hilliard City Schools this year have provided some students with a little extra sleep and the district with a few extra dollars, district officials say.
"Overall, (the new busing routes) have worked tremendously well," said district spokeswoman Amanda Morris. "Every year there are a few isolated things that need addressed on our routes, but our new times and routes are (providing the expected benefit)."
District officials adjusted, by just a few minutes, the start and dismissal times at the elementary, middle and high schools in search of the optimal schedule for picking up and dropping off about 8,400 of the district's approximately 15,700 students.
Every minute counts, Morris said, as the 126 district buses each day travel about 7,500 miles on morning, mid-day and afternoon routes.
"We expect to realize some cost savings because of less time on the road," said Morris, adding district officials expect fuel consumption to remain about the same because the routes are the same.
Morris estimated the district could save $73,640 by the end of the year with the new bus schedules.
Bus drivers are paid based on time on the job, Morris said, therefore any monetary savings can be found in reducing time of the streets.
"We squeezed some bell times this year hoping to reduce those times and early indicators are we have (succeeded)," Morris said.
The new times have created a new benefit for some students, too.
"Some students even get a few extra minutes (of sleep) in the mornings and that can help," said Morris, alluding to students at Tharp Sixth Grade School, where classes this year begin 15 minutes later than last year.
The school day at Tharp this year is 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.