IRSD implements school transportation, schedule changes

District adds 16 minutes to school day

Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, the Indian River School District will implement a tiered transportation system that will create new daily starting and ending times for several district schools. In addition, the length of the school day will be extended by 16 minutes to compensate for possible weather-related cancelations, the district announced this week.

The Indian River Board of Education approved the new tiered transportation system on June 16 and the extended school day on July 28.

Under the new plan, district schools will be divided into “First Start” and “Second Start” categories, with different starting and ending times for each group.

The school day for First Start schools will run from 7:45 a.m. until 2:46 p.m. Buses will arrive between 7:25 and 7:30 a.m. and begin departing between 2:51 and 2:54 p.m.

Schools in the First Start group are Sussex Central High School, Indian River High School, Georgetown Middle School, Millsboro Middle School, Selbyville Middle School, Phillip C. Showell Elementary School, North Georgetown Elementary School and East Millsboro Elementary School.

The school day for Second Start schools will run from 8:35 a.m. until 3:36 p.m. Buses will arrive between 8:15 and 8:20 a.m. and begin departing between 3:41 and 3:44 p.m.

Schools in the Second Start group are Georgetown Elementary School, the Kindergarten Center at Georgetown Elementary, Lord Baltimore Elementary School, Long Neck Elementary School and John M. Clayton Elementary School.

Special schools in the district will have separate starting and ending times. Those times are as follows: Howard T. Ennis School, 8 a.m. to 3:06 p.m.; G.W. Carver Academy, 8:25 a.m. to 2:46 p.m.; and Southern Delaware School of the Arts, 8 a.m. to 2:41 p.m.

All district schools will have a standard school day of seven hours. District officials said parents should disregard the starting and ending times that were previously published in July, as they did not reflect the extended school day.

“The district’s rapidly-growing student enrollment and the implementation of full-day kindergarten have impacted the transportation system in recent years,” officials said. “Implementing the tiered system and creating unified starting and ending times will allow buses to serve more than one school. It will also reduce bus overcrowding and allow for student growth at all schools.”

The system will reduce the number of elementary students on a single bus to 50 to 55. The number of secondary students on a bus will be reduced to 38 to 44. In addition, early bus drop-offs at Indian River High School will be discontinued, and students from Selbyville Middle School and Phillip C. Showell Elementary School will no longer share buses. All district high schools and middle schools will also have early start times, like most secondary schools in Delaware.

In addition, officials said, extending the school day by 16 minutes may allow the district to compensate for weather-related cancellations without adding days to the end of the school year. The extra minutes, they said, will provide flexibility in determining make-up days related to weather closings or other changes to the school calendar. There were nine weather cancellations in 2013-2014.

The changes will take effect when the 2014-2015 school year begins on Tuesday, Sept. 2.