After months of research and planning, the district determined that the new system will eliminate overcrowding on buses, separate high schoolers from younger students, ensure the most daylight for elementary students, shorten route duration and ensure cost-effectiveness.
The board concluded that the three-tiered system is the most practical approach to accommodating the growing enrollment, which has surpassed 16,000 students. Currently, drivers bus 80-plus students on many routes; that number would be reduced to 56 under the new plan.
“As we weighed the costs and benefits of adopting the three tiered-system, we definitely recognized several other factors that are important to students, staff and families,” acting Superintendent Pat Mapes said.
“We considered field trip coordination, athletics schedules, before- and after-school care, length of school days and student performance because most of these issues affect our entire school community.”
The new system will result in the following start and end times for schools:
7:15 a.m.-2:05 p.m. – Perry Meridian and Southport high schools.
8:10 a.m.-3 p.m. – Perry and Southport middle schools and sixth-grade academies.
9:05 a.m.-3:55 p.m. – all of the elementary schools.