Start times for the buildings in the Mineola School District will have to be changed once again for the 2012-13 school year.
“I regret that it’s a problem that we have to move them again, but it has to happen,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler said at a meeting of the board of education at the Willis Avenue School on February 2. “It could be as simple as changing one of the pre-K to two buildings and it should be a difference of about a half hour.”
The main cause for the shift is that the number of students being bussed next year will increase, primarily relating to the final move as part of the district reconfiguration that included the closure of the Cross Street School this year and the Willis Avenue School next year.
The superintendent presented the board with three options for changing the start times:
- Other than moving the time for one of the pre-k buildings, the high school start time could remain the same, the middle school would go back to a secondary schedule (7:49 a.m. to 2:41 p.m.), Hampton would stay from 8:12 a.m. to 2:49 p.m., Meadow would go from 8:42 a.m. to 3:19 p.m. and Jackson would run from 8:50 a.m. to 3:27 a.m. “Those are approximate for the Jackson and the elementary, we’re still working on the exact minutes there,” Dr. Nagler said.
- Option two would let the high school and middle school start times remain the same, Jackson would move to 8:12 a.m. to 2:49 p.m. and Meadow and Hampton would both start at 8:48 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. “We can start the two pre-k-twos schools at a later time, the issue with that is we go right back to the problem with Jackson Avenue dismissing at the same time as Chaminade, which in the past has proven to be a mess,” the superintendent said. Chaminade dismisses at 2:50 p.m.
- Option three would move the high school start up to a later time and move the younger students to an earlier time. Hampton would start at 7:30 a.m. to 2:07 p.m., the high school would run from 7:54 a.m. to 2:46 p.m. the middle school from 8:20 a.m. to 3:12 p.m. and Jackson from 8:45 a.m. to 3:22 p.m. “Obviously that’s a radical departure from what we do now,” Dr. Nagler said, “there is a lot of research that would support younger students going to school earlier since the majority of them are up and about and the majority of high school students are not.” The earliest bus stop on option three is 7 a.m.
The later start time would be beneficial to the high school sports since “we have one of the earliest high school starts in the county,” Dr. Nagler said. Buses would not be able to get to any sports team before 3:30 p.m. “because we’re bussing the district u until 3:30 no matter what configuration you have. The only bus we really need to move quickly on is the eighth grade going back to the middle school for the fields so we do accommodate those children because of the earlier dismissal there.”
Bell time is in the teacher’s contract and has to be negotiated with the union but “I’d like to think that we would make decisions in the best interest of children,” Dr. Nagler said. “What I hear from parents this year is they need before school care and after school care because they need to get to work.”
According to the superintendent, the district director of transportation was comfortable with the timing of dismissal between Jackson Avenue and Chaminade for option one. “Middle school, most of them line up on Garfield so you can avoid Chaminade, Jackson really can’t avoid (because) you come down Saville - that’s the only way to get (in), even if we go to park our buses on Marcellus, the number of buses we have now really won’t work.”
No decision was made by the board at the meeting.