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2023-2024 Proposed Start & Dismissal Times

As was presented at the May 23rd School Board Special Meeting/Workshop, the Transportation Work Group has listened to feedback from families and staff, which was taken into consideration for the development of the proposed 2023-2024 school year start and dismissal times.

The School Board will vote on the proposed start and dismissal times at its June 13th meeting.

The schedule below has no more than a 15-minute variation in school start/end times from the current schedule:

7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. — 7 Elementary Schools
Fallon Park, Lincoln Terrace, Monterey, Preston Park, RAMS, Round Hill, and Westside

8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. — 10 Elementary Schools

Crystal Spring, Fairview, Fishburn Park, Garden City, Grandin Court, Highland Park, Hurt Park, Morningside, Wasena, and Virginia Heights

8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. — High Schools and Programs
Forest Park, Noel C. Taylor, Patrick Henry, and William Fleming

9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. — Middle Schools
James Breckinridge, James Madison, John P. Fishwick, Lucy Addison, and Woodrow Wilson

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the benefits of the proposed new times?
By altering the school start and dismissal times by just 15 minutes, this will allow bus transportation to be more consistent and reliable, increasing the number of buses and drivers available for each run and allow extra drivers to be available for sports and other activities.

Likewise, each run requires fewer drivers, which will help to eliminate the need for double runs and the occurrence of late buses.

Additionally, some students are currently picked up as early as 5:44 a.m. With the new schedule, no student would need to be on the bus before 6:15 a.m.
How was this schedule created?
The Transportation Work Group previously reviewed the possibility of creating a new three-bell schedule. Following feedback from families and staff about the impacts of larger changes to start and dismissal times, the Work Group looked to other school divisions who have been able to work through the bus driver shortage by moving to this new proposed schedule.

This schedule would allow schools to start no more than 15 minutes earlier or later than their current schedule. This would have minimal impacts to students and families while also reducing bus delays. This would not impact students' ability to participate in athletics, extracurriculars, work, or other activities.

What time will I be able to drop my student off?
Schools will open 25 minutes before the first bell rings. For example, if a school's start time is 8 a.m., students may be dropped off as early as 7:35 a.m. 

My student's elementary school would start at 7:30 a.m. instead of 7:45 a.m. Would they have to get on the bus earlier?
Because more buses will be available for each run and because the change is only by 15 minutes, minimal changes are expected. In fact, the proposed schedule will prevent some students from having to be picked up so early. Currently, the earliest pick-up time is 5:44 a.m. With the new times, the earliest would be 6:15 a.m. 

How was it determined which elementary schools would begin at 7:30 versus 8?
Start times are based on the city’s geography as well as elementary schools with specialty programs. Schools with specialty programs, such as PLATO, STEAM, and pre-K, have students who live across the city; therefore, routes are longer, so these schools would start at 8 a.m.

What would be the start and dismissal times for half-day pre-K?
Schools with a 7:30 a.m. start time would have the following half-day program times:

Reach AM: 7:30-10:50 a.m.
Reach PM: 10:50 a.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Schools with an 8 a.m. start time would have the following half-day program times:

Reach AM: 8-11:20 a.m.
Reach PM: 11:20 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.

How would teacher contracts be affected?
Teacher contracts would remain the same, as they are based on hours rather than specific times.

When would this schedule begin?
It will begin at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

When would I know my student's pick-up time?
As in past years, the Transportation Department will release bus routes when enrollment is finalized in early August. These routes will be posted to the Transportation Department’s webpage and the Back to School webpage.

How would these changes impact students who require specialized transportation?

Students with disabilities would continue to receive specialized transportation, as indicated in their Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan.

What about specialized programs like Governor's School or private day schools?
The start and dismissal times to the regional Roanoke Valley Governor's School for Science and Technology and private day schools would remain the same.

How will RCPS know if this proposed change works?
RCPS will continue to monitor bus routes and measure success through consistent, on-time arrivals and dismissals; student, family, and staff satisfaction; improved student attendance; and length of bus routes.

If families have questions or would like to provide feedback, please email [email protected]o.

40 Douglass Avenue NW, Roanoke, VA 24012 Phone 540-853-2502