Changing bell times could save the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District more than $600,000 next year.
Three late-start elementary schools – Cedar Creek, Lee’s Summit and Trailridge – will start and end 40 minutes earlier next year.
For the first time, the district’s three high schools will all be on the same schedule.
Deputy Supt. Brent Blevins says current bus routes were set when the district was much smaller.
“The current start times we have are due to the transportation efficiency,” Blevins says. “As we’ve added elementary schools and middle schools and high schools over the years, we’ve not had any changes to that.”
Blevins says the district will save $120,000 upfront and another $520,000 in cost avoidance over time because the new routes will mean less wear and tear on buses.
The announcement comes as Missouri has slashed funding for school transportation.
“That really wasn’t the driving force,” Blevins says. “The driving force was really to try to get some consistency in our transportation department regardless of what type of reimbursement we’re getting because it is taxpayer dollars that we’re able to save.”
Start times won’t change significantly at most schools, according to district spokeswoman Janice Phelan.
Blevins says the feedback the district has gotten from building principals has been positive. He thinks most parents, who for years have complained about the late start times at some elementary schools, will appreciate the changes.
“Right now we have some students that are on a bus until almost 5 o’clock at night with those late start elementaries,” Blevins says.
The changes will go into effect in August.
Elle Moxley covers Missouri schools and politics for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.