Superintendent George Arlotto's Proposal to Shift School Start and Dismissal Times in the 2017-2018 School Year
Superintendent George Arlotto’s proposed Start & Dismissal Times Model is designed to align with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ and the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation for high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. to offer adolescents their needed 8 to 9 hours of nightly sleep. Moreover, it recognizes the desire to have our most vulnerable students, our elementary school children, travel to and from school during daylight hours. Finally, it allows Anne Arundel County Public Schools to move high school start times later than the current 7:17 a.m. start while minimizing the negative effects on families with respect to their student’s engagement in afterschool activities and their need for child care.
High schools begin at 8:30 a.m.; middle schools begin no earlier than 9:30 a.m.; and elementary schools begin between 7:50 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.
With this option, high school begins 73 minutes later than current start times, middle school begins the latest, starting 35 to 95 minutes later, and the elementary school start time window will open between 7:50 and 9:15 am. Some elementary schools within each cluster may have significantly different start times, as determined by bus scheduling. The Transportation Office will be using the newly acquired transportation software to map and analyze potential bus routes during the 2016-2017 school year in order to identify and increase efficiencies.
Estimated Annual Cost: $8,147,476
In his December 16, 2015, budget address, Dr. Arlotto reiterated his strong belief that funding for any change in school start and dismissal times must be in addition to that needed for other budgetary requests, most notably compensation increases and additional positions to keep pace with rising enrollments and begin to address class size issues.
“If we as a county are truly serious about moving forward as a school system and about adjusting school hours, we must commit to providing the funding to do so and not do it at the expense of our people or our programs,” Dr. Arlotto said.
If the County approves funding as outlined above and there is broad community support, Dr. Arlotto said, the changes would go into effect for the 2017-1018 school year.
Securing funding in Fiscal Year 2017 (in addition to the $602,000 approved by the County Council in FY2016) would mean AACPS and its bus contractors would have sufficient time to order and receive the additional buses and train additional drivers needed to shift start and dismissal times. It also means that schools would have to shift hours only once, as opposed to as many as three times under a multi-year plan.
Estimated Breakdown of Cost:
This option will require approximately 124 additional buses. Significant adjustments to transportation schedules would be needed because buses often run multiple routes and serve schools at different grade levels. Because this option would change the tiered structures of elementary, middle, and high schools, the necessary route changes would be substantial.
This option will require 7 additional employees to help manage the additional buses and transportation routes (one transportation specialist, technician and driver trainer handles an average of 65 buses):
Pros & Cons of Proposed Model
School Start Times Task Force | Anne Arundel County Public Schools | 410-222-5000