Staggered schedules mean a more balanced budget for Brunswick Co. Schools

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Submitted: Wed, 05/11/2011 - 3:35pm

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — At a Tuesday night meeting, The Brunswick County Board of Education decided staggered start times were the way to go. In a 3-2 vote, the board decided elementary schools will start at 7:50 a.m., middle schools will start at 8:50 a.m., and high schools will start at 8:55 a.m.

The board says the new schedules will save the school system $525,000 annually and could save 10 teaching positions from being cut. John Barham says as a parent, he wasn’t always sure about the new schedules, but he thinks it is the best choice.

“The fact that you can save 10 permanent teaching positions affects so many people,” Barham said. “It affects the teachers, it affects the economy, but it really helps and affects the children as well. If the teachers had been cut, that could have made the classroom sizes higher and the attention that the students would get would be less.”

Barham says there are some disadvantages to the new plan, but he says the cons are minor and should be workable.

“When you get to the high school students, they’re starting later. If they have any extra curricular activities,” Barham said. “How is that going to be affected? How are sports going to be affected?”

The board says the efficiency ratings of the school system will skyrocket because of this decision. Since they buses are not needed at the same time, about 30 less buses will be on the road, daily.

Barham says although he knows that change is difficult and often times seen as negative, he thinks it will be worth it in the end.

“Just the fact of the economy of the way it is right now and being able to save the money… I think the ends justify the means,” Barham said.

The new schedules will go into effect at the beginning of next school year. This decision is part of a list of reductions that board members had to vote on Tuesday in order to close a $5.7 million budget deficit.


  • Katelynn says:

    Im currently a high schooler in brunswick county and i think the time change is a really good idea, because as high schoolers we do get a lot of work and it gives us more sleep after a long night of homework and staying up late to finish it. And most of us have jobs so the extra time really does help a lot. So im really excited for the time difference to start next school year.

  • Guest12345 says:

    It’s also not the purpose of public education to FORCE child care on the parents because the leaders in Raleigh have been spending carelessly. The whole ideology behind staggering bus times was that it would cut costs AND be a benefit to the students, being as later ages need more sleep. The point wendy made, and it obviously went right over your head, was that this does not allow kids to sleep longer as they will have to be at a child care facility early in the morning. So how does this help students or parents? It doesn’t. It helps bail out the politicians in Raleigh who have been using our tax money and lottery money to fund special projects.

  • Works in Ed says:

    Cut out all the bureaucrat administrators from raliegh, all the paper pushers that are only around b/c of NCLB. We all know that whole bill was a complete failure. Great idea in principle but totally asinine in practice. All it did was create more jobs for people to assess schools, instead of funding schools with better training, supplies, technology, tutors, etc..

    The academic suits that make 70k a year for attending meetings, philosophizing, observing schools, and scaring the s*** out of real educators during their visits, should be the ones who find themselves without a job this year. Let the principal and administrators of each school be responsible for how it spends it’s share of the money. That’s the problem with public schools is that someone who lives 200 miles away ends up making decisions that affect every school system, and every school system is so different, and has different needs. We need to limit how much the special interest politicians in Raleigh can affect our schools.

  • lynn raeburn says:

    I think it is about time the people in charge start thinking outside of the box. I commend everyone for taking a chance. This might work or it may not work. You will never know unless you try. Gee that sounds like something teachers try to develop in their students. Creative thinking for solutions in today’s world. Way to go. And, by the way, if you read any studies about start times for students you will see that the younger the child the earlier they go to bed at night , because of their physical make-up. And,the older a student gets, their body naturally doesn’t shut down until later. So, it makes sense to start later for high school. It might be time to re-evaluate extra curricula.

  • Guest1000000000 says:

    1- I received the phone call from the Bruns. Cty Schools as a message bc I was not able to answer the phone. I had NO way to voice my opinion. Nor was there ANY other opportunity to do so. I think this was VERY unproffesional and unorganized way of obtaining tne information. It was not a vote by the parents, only the parents who were home or not working to be able to answer the phone. I looked for a paper vote that week thinking to be sure they would have that kinda of sense. – NOT these people
    2- So now that we have it stated that this was not fair…
    3 – I think this is on a road to many problems. If the ten teachers jobs saved are going to help the students, actually care about the students outcomes and success then I am better with that decision. However, my 8 years of experience with the school system is that no matter how many emails and phone calls a parent makes– they don’t try any harder to help me child. AND they are very good students and never a trouble maker.
    4- I think i would rather have put the money towards more support for the teachers we do have to help them with the classroom and supplies, versus stretch it out anymore
    5- Also, for all the parents who leave as soon as their middle schoolers get on the bus at 7:00 or so, so they can go to work — now I know these “sleep patterns” they are saying helped their decision…. sleep patterns??? therefore they will sleep past their alarm bc the parents are gone to work…. then they miss school…. then the kids miss work… then the school calls the parents… kids do need responsibility…. but a parent still is responsible to make sure they are at school. I will call the school board to pick my child up because I am working… yeah right.
    6- I am very happy that alot of parents are not affected bc they are flexible at work or are fortunate not to have to work….. but I will rather put my child at a private school in Wilmington than deal with this school system.
    7- Rather than worrying about the kids sleep patterns and school learning…. start paying attention to the needs of your teachers now-
    8- Many more checkouts for doctor and dentist appts now…. many try for after school to not interrupt the school day… now it will not matter!
    This is a disaster in the making…. I have read many articles about a four day week that had WAY better results than this bell system starting at 9

  • Guest1234 says:

    The purpose of public education is NOT to provide parents with free child care!!! There are daycare providers that open early in the morning and stay open well into the evening. They will put your child on the bus and you can have your child dropped off there instead of your home. Of course, you will have to pay them. If you can’t stay home with your child or pay for daycare then you shouldn’t have children!

  • Butterfly says:

    I just don’t see this at all. What about the single parents that work 8am until 5pm. My self as a mother had my older child to get the little ones off of the bus for the two hours that I wasn’t home. This may save the county money but it will not save single parents money. Therefore we will have to find child care for the elementary students. If anything the hours should have been reserved. The middle and high school kids should have went in early and been home for the little ones. I totally disagree with the new school hours.

  • beachteach says:

    Everything is not dollars & cents, sounds like a good idea for some, as there are many educators that supplement their income with part-time jobs. However many of us have families with children of school age and are struggling with the changes as many of you are. Rotation of duties does not take place everywhere, it’s a good idea in theory and in practice!!!

  • Concerned Resident says:

    I as a resident of Brunswick County have an issue with the school board. Recently they sent out a phone message asking parents to give their opinion about this staggered bell plan. It was my understanding that most responded that they were not in favor of the plan as it was. Many said if they would change the elementary to the later start they would be okay with it. However, the board that we have here went ahead and as we have seen many times in the past voted in the complete opposite direction. I have friends who work for the school system and they say that often this happens were the board ask about how they feel on an issue and that the board ends up going against they message that they are sending. Seems there is alot of I help you you help me going on at the school board and not the best interest of the students.

  • Irritated Mother says:

    The same exact thing happened with the school uniform policy–surveys were sent out and not every parent received the survey, myself and other members of my family being one of them. Again, another change has been implemented and until WWAY made it news, I had no idea. With an elementary aged child, she gets sent home a folder daily but not one thing was mentioned there either. If the school board wants to allow parent’s to have input, why not be fair and send a ballot home in the child’s folder? Why send out a phone message as the only method of input from the parents? Not only do you have to rely on the call actually being made but you also have to rely on being home to get the call. People do WORK! Have some respect and let sound voices be heard! Publicize the meeting and what is being voted on–don’t leave it all behind closed doors.

  • GEG says:

    Well so much for how I felt as well as the majority of others I spoke to. Really don’t know how this will work for anyone married or not, unless your job requires shifts, most places are open by 8am. If we are in such bad shape maybe we should shorten the school week, attend Monday-Thursday and let everyone have one day to figure out what to do with children vs. work, not have it to deal with every day, because someone thought this was a good idea. Strange how the news for SC schools was so much better than NC……their mtg/vote announced on the news this week was actually raises for their teachers. By law our children have to attend school and by all means I have to work, so maybe someone can explain how it is suppose to happen. My child does NOT ride a bus, nor do I believe in leaving one home alone, guess we are being forced to do things we don’t want to do.

  • joe says:

    What happens when the high schools students need to be home to watch there sibblings. This going to make it harder for people to balance after school care with conflicting schedules. if nothing else the high school students should get up earlier not the young childern they are the ones who are suppose to be young adults.What time will the high school release in the afternoon?

  • BL says:

    If this truly saves money so they can avoid cutting teacher positions, we should support the decision. School is NOT a babysitting service- it’s for education. Parents need to remember this. This economy is tough on everyone, and if it comes down to cutting teachers, raising taxes, or staggering schedules, I’m sure the schedule changes would win in a popular vote!

  • Guest2203 says:

    Thank you for your comment. Everyone else here is just thinking about themselves instead of every tax payer. The rest of the residents in Brunswick County ARE NOT interested in paying more taxes so the school system can continue spending money it could save by parking buses. Raise your own children instead of leaving it to the school system to do for you! All of you seem so unhappy with the free education you receive so why would you leave your problems up to the school system to solve anyway? It is a minor adjustment; stop whining and figure it out!

    And yes, I do have children in the system (3 as a matter of fact) and this will affect me too.

  • mother of two says:

    I have two children in two different schools. I have to be at work by 7:55. The current schedule allows me to drop my children off and get to work just in time. Am I going to be able to drop my middle schooler off at 7:30? This puts him at school almost an hour early and is certainly a safety issue. Whoever decided this was not thinking of the working parents. I am so unhappy.

  • twoofakind says:

    It seems the members on the school board does not care how we feel as a whole and what is in the best interest as a whole. Most of the members on the school board does not have school aged children. I’ve talked to many parents and they are against the new schedule. Well I know what I am going to due at election time, and I can tell you I will not vote for these idiots…

  • Guestasis says:

    Well said. Nothing else to add.

  • Parent thinking of Children not self says:

    The comments are not parents thinking of themselves. They are Parents who this will make a difference. Your comment is really not needed. It is more than a minor adjustment for High School Children who have Sports and jobs also. There are ways to make changes without doing this. Most Parents do work and it is people like you that vote for these changes. You obviously do not have 3 children in the school system or if you do, you must be getting some kind of benefit do to the change. There are other ways to cut cost without our children and their education being the one who suffer. I really feel your comment was not worth reading. If you want to bad mouth people sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut.

  • Guestrrrr says:

    Quit expecting the tax payers and the schools to take care of all your family’s needs.

    Funds are tight, so YES that means YOU will have to find a way to care for your kids. So sorry.

  • aggrevatedby narrowminded people says:

    I don’t think anyone is asking for them to take care of their children…… You sound like it is not a hardship on you or your family — yay for you…. but welcome to the real world where people work and are expected to be at work at a certain time…. their boss could care less than they have kids that now are starting school at some stupid hour.

    I know several kids that work after school to help pay for their car insurance, gas etc.. I know one child who helps pay for the household bills for her single mother…. but this will cut two hours into her schedule when they close at 9. She has to ride the bus and now will get home after 5. That is stupid.

    So, these parents are teaching their kids and taking care of their kids _ morals, work ethics, and such…

    By the way… sports are important to keep them off the streets, out of trouble, and possible college scholarships… narrow minded people only see what they want to see or what makes it interesting for them to talk about.


  • Guest31415 says:

    How is their education suffering from the schedule change?

  • guest12345 says:

    I think the Brunswick county school board should have put a lot more thought in this decision. Is this truly going to save the $ they say? I think that there is other ways to cut without putting hardship on working parents. No cuts at central office???? Just put more of a burden on working people. Who is going to have to pay before & after school daycare now? Not everyone leaves their children at home alone. Some of us live in areas where children should not be left alone. Everyone should take a look at what is WASTED at schools. If everyone that works has to put their child on a bus next year- are we not going to have to have more buses? On do we just overcrowd them? The sleep study that Mr. Pruden talks about won’t make much of a difference when children still have to get up because they have to be taken somewhere before school. Maybe everyone can get their children enrolled in the k-8 school that won’t be affected.

  • Guest1947 says:

    Some bus drivers, who are all part time now, will lose their job, but the rest will become full time drivers. As a parent whose kids ride the bus, I’d rather lose a bus driver than a teacher.

  • In Addition... says:

    In addition, let me add that since they COULD save 10 teaching positions and now they are reducing 30 buses on the road at the same time–wouldn’t that essentially mean that 30 bus drivers are losing their jobs?

  • wendy says:

    This will be an impossible schedule for me to meet. They make this huge change and then don’t even respect us enough to send home information with our children. I have called shallote middle school and they said they will not offer any pre school supervised activities. So what, they expect me to put my 11 year old on a bus with 18 year old adults. How can anything good come in that situation. It is difficult enough already to parent my boys.

  • jack johnson says:

    I’m not against the time change if it prevents teachers from being laid off. BUT that being said, I think there should be enough buses and drivers to keep middle and high school students separate.. If they are going to force more children to ride the bus by making it impossible for most families to get their children to school they need to invest more heavily on before and after-school programs. This will give students a chance to have breakfast every morning, to study, catch up on homework, etc. Kick the teachers a stipend of the money saved to pay them the extra hour a day they will spend monitoring the students before and after school. They can rotate these duties like everything else.

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