School Board approves new bell schedule
School Board approves new bell schedules
Posted on 05/19/2020
School Board approves new bell schedules

Preparations are being made for next fall including master schedules at each school and new bell schedules. However, no one knows when the new bell schedules will go into effect due to the ongoing social distancing rules in place. “Once Pierce County school districts are given the green light to return to 'normal' operations, we will be ready,” said Corine Pennington, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.

The new bell schedule approved by the board on May 18th is designed to minimize impact to students and families as much as possible, however most schools will see changes in start and end times.

The changes are necessary to improve the overall functionality of transportation services, including:

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Creating a schedule for transportation routes that meets the needs of our students and transports them to and from school daily in a timely manner.
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Improve transportation services for programs such as Highly Capable and Athletics.
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Reduce incidents of late buses.
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Increase total hours worked for bus drivers. This model is more conducive to attracting and retaining bus drivers and substitutes by increasing the number of work hours per day.
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It is not anticipated that these changes will result in any reductions/layoffs of current drivers.
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Improve administrative oversight and customer service.
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Net cost savings of $441,000 per year.

 “We have been struggling with the current schedule for years. There are days when we have to pull a rabbit out of our hat to cover routes that are left unfilled due to lack of substitutes. This results in parents worrying about where children are and why buses are late,” says Corine Pennington, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.

 Pennington says the changes are in line with bell schedules of neighboring school districts. For our 23 Puyallup elementary schools, 19 will have changes of 15 minutes or less than the current school year. Four elementary bell changes are more than 15 minutes.

 Most of the junior high changes are less than 15 minutes. High schools will start 20-25 minutes later next year.

When planning for the new bell schedule, we focused on reasonable start/end times for students. “It greatly improves our sustainability, reduces incidents of late buses, and increases total hours for our drivers. The savings are every year – not just one year and can be redirected to student instruction,” says Pennington.

Bell Schedule