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Seattle Public Schools may change regular school hours

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Seattle Public Schools is weighing changes to regular school hours because of an ongoing shortage of school bus drivers. 

Mark Horton / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

Seattle Public Schools is weighing a decision to change regular school hours.

In a letter sent to parents Thursday, the district said the proposed changes would help solve transportation issues related to its shortage of school bus drivers.

“We know that school leaders and families would like safe, reliable, and on-time transportation service without school schedule changes,” the district said on its website. “Unfortunately, because of the ongoing bus driver shortage, it isn’t possible to provide both of those things for everyone in the district.”

The district, which has already suspended 50 bus routes, anticipates the driver shortage to persist through next year.

Right now, most of the district’s elementary school students start class at 7:55 a.m. and get out of school at 1:10 p.m. Most students in the district’s middle schools — as well as most students in the district’s K-8 schools — start class at 8:55 a.m. and are released between 2:10 and 2:30 p.m. Most high schoolers start class at 8:45 a.m. and get out of school around 2:30 p.m.  

Under the district’s new proposal, which its board of directors will vote on next month, the most drastic changes would happen at the elementary level.

Most elementary schools — 43 of the district’s 64 — would start class at 7:30 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. Four elementary schools would start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3 p.m., and the remaining 17 schools would start at 9:30 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

You can view the proposed start time for individual schools on the district’s website.

Under the changes, all but one of the district’s middle schools would start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:20 p.m. Denny International Middle School in West Seattle, the lone exception, would start at 9:30 a.m. and end at 4:20 p.m. All of the district’s K-8 schools would start at 9:30 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

Each of the district’s 15 high schools would start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:20 p.m.

The board of directors is scheduled to vote on the changes at its regular May 18 meeting. If approved, they will go into effect at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.

The district is welcoming public input on the changes through May 18. Parents and community members can submit their feedback through a Seattle Public Schools online form.




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