HISD seeks input on school start times

HISD is looking into the possibility of changing school start times for next year. The district will consider standardizing start times across all grade levels starting in the 2018-19 school year, with the goal of increasing bus transportation efficiency and saving money.

Across its more than 280 campuses, HISD manages 67 different school start times – which is the highest number in the state. This poses challenges to delivering safe, reliable, and affordable transportation for students.

Those challenges include ineffective routes, increased cost of maintenance and repairs, and reduced bus availability for field trips and athletic events (an increased cost for campuses). The challenges also come at a time when HISD is facing growing future recapture payments to the state, and as a result, a tighter budget.

“Based on HISD managing 67 different start times, we are evaluating the possibility of adopting standardized start times for schools at each level: elementary, middle and high school,” said Tracy Clemons, a spokesperson for the district.

“These new times would be similar to surrounding districts. We are currently gathering input from parents and principals. Any potential changes would be taken before the superintendent for consideration for the 2018-19 school year.”

District officials say the benefits of standardized start times include increased ridership, more efficient routes that arrive and depart on time, and extended life of the bus fleet. The options are:

· Option 1:

· Elementary: Start time: 8:15 a.m. – Dismissal 3:35 p.m.

· Middle: Start time: 7:15 a.m. – Dismissal 2:35 p.m.

· High: Start time: 7:15 a.m. – Dismissal 2:35 p.m.

· Option 2:

· Elementary: Start time: 8:45 a.m. – Dismissal 4:05 p.m.

· Middle: Start time: 7:30 a.m. – Dismissal 2:50 p.m.

· High: Start time: 7:30 a.m. – Dismissal 2:50 p.m.

“We took several factors into account when drafting these proposed new schedules,” said HISD Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby. “At the end of the day, it’s about maximizing time and saving money – which benefits our parents, our schools, and ultimately our students.” To take the parent survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/39PLG6Y. The survey will close on Nov. 6.