Elementary school parents getting their kids ready for the start of a new school year may be getting out of bed earlier than they’d planned.
Atlanta Public Schools, no stranger to controversy, irked many in Buckhead with the proposed bus schedules. The schedules will apply across the entire school system. School begins Aug. 7.
Drop off for elementary schools is now between 6:55 a.m. and 7:10 a.m., meaning students will be at their school nearly an hour before class starts before 8 a.m. Last year, students were dropped off between 7:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Teachers are not required to arrive until 7:30 a.m., leaving many parents wondering who will be supervising their children in the 20 minutes after they arrive at school.
According to a letter sent to Morris Brandon Elementary parents, the school system will rely on “volunteer teachers” to look after children once the buses arrive.
Reporter Newspapers this morning sent an email to Atlanta Public Schools transportation officials asking for more information regarding the bus schedules, but has not yet received a response.
Jenny Nix, who is transportation liaison for the E. Rivers Elementary Parent Teacher Association, forwarded an email APS Director of Transportation John Lyles sent in response to her concerns. E. Rivers’ situation is somewhat more complicated this year, because students there will attend school at the old Sutton Middle School campus while the elementary school is rebuilt.
“APS has traditionally delivered elementary students to campus between 7:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. to give students time to eat breakfast before classes begin at 8 a.m.,” Lyles wrote. “The students were held on the buses until (30 minutes) before class, but this caused buses to be late at the high school level.
“We always try to reduce student ride times when possible, but it’s challenging with Atlanta traffic patterns. Also, keep in mind that E. Rivers is moving to the old Sutton (Middle School) site which will require a longer commute. Please let me know if you need additional information.”
An email sent to parents of Morris Brandon Elementary said that APS officials proposed the earlier drop off times to ensure that middle school and high school students arrive on time. Middle and high school students ride the same buses and are dropped off after elementary students.
Brandon parents have contacted APS officials with a list of concerns, including the safety of students waiting at bus stops before sun rise and the effect a longer school day will have on performance.
Nix said she still has unanswered questions. She said the time changes are causing many parents to consider car pooling so their kids can avoid a long wait before classes start. Nix said she’s hopeful that APS can resolve the issue before the first day of school.
“We don’t want decide that we’re going to car pool instead of trying to get this fixed,” Nix said. “We want it fixed.”