BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- School start times are changing once again in Brunswick County. Last year, the school board voted on a staggered start time. But now they've eliminated that for something a little more traditional. The decision comes with a hefty cost.
Brunswick County teachers, parents, and school leaders were in utter shock tonight after the school board voted 3-2 to go back to a traditional bell schedule for the next school year.
The traditional bell schedule means all students high school, middle, and elementary will start and end school at the about same time.
Leonard Jenkins worked with the school system for 20 years. He says with the staggered schedule, students had to wait for buses to arrive, and he says some students were spending an hour and a half on bus just to get to and from school.
"On traditional, every school had its buses, so when school was out, kids left, they weren't waiting on buses to come and transport them,” Jenkins said.
But Brunswick County schools spokeswoman Jessica Swencki says the change will cost the school system more than one million dollars to buy new buses, repair old ones, and get several out of retirement.
Many in attendance could not believe what they were hearing, including Bolivia Elementary principal, Kathy Owens.
"I'm very surprised at the outcome, going back to the traditional schedule, in light of the fact that it's going to cost from what I just heard, a million dollars, and that's going to come from somewhere,” Owens said. “I'm afraid it might come from classrooms and teachers."
The board has not yet finalized what the start and end times for the new schedule will be, or how they plan to pay the extra $1,000,000.
But one parent says she just wants the changes to stop.
"They keep going back and forth,” Holly Biasi said. “We had a staggered schedule, then no staggered schedule, and then we're back to staggered schedule."
On top of the $1,000,000 Swincki says this decision will cost the school system, they also have to come up with more money annually to pay for transportation program costs.