The Craven County Board of Education voted to adjust start and dismissal times for all schools beginning in the fall.
The Board of Education approved a staff and study committee request to change opening and closing school hours to 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for high schools, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for elementary schools, and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for middle schools.
“If you ask somebody now what school hours are for Craven County Schools you could get 20 answers, but the action we took Tuesday will make them more consistent for the next school year,” board chairman Carr Ipock said. “By having more precise start times from elementary, middle and high schools, we can reduce the time required to pick up, deliver and return students from each school.”
Vice Chair Linda Thomas said the changes were aimed at uniformity.
“One of the main reasons is so we can get better use of school buses and not have children out so early or have to travel so long on buses,” she said. “This way they won’t have to run second (bus) routes.”
Assistant Superintendent Glenn Reaves said some students on double routes had to be out to catch the bus at 5:30 a.m.
“We can reduce the number of kids on the bus by adding more busses to a school and shorten some routes,” he said. “This will allow us to benefit our families. Right now we have kids who ride busses, particularly on the western side of the county, as long as two hours. This can cut that just about in half.”
He said the school system can reduce overcrowding and “eliminates double runs so we don’t have kids waiting around after school for more than a half hour for the next bus.”
Craven County Schools operates 156 buses.
“Because of feeder schools, they have to have a sufficient break to turn buses around,” Ipock said. “There is definitely some logistics involved and about the minimum time it could have been was 20 minutes. We went with 30 minutes for smooth flow.”
Sue Book is a reporter for the Sun Journal.