At a Jan. 16 LISD board of trustees meeting, Assistant Superintendent Matt Smith recommended that the bell schedule committee seek another meeting with LISD stakeholders—primarily administrators and parents—who would be directly affected by any change to school start times or bus times.
The bell schedule committee has been researching the issues since its formation in 2018, according to LISD documents, and was expected at the Jan. 16 meeting to offer recommendations to reduce student tardiness and increase instruction time through more efficient busing and school start times.
The changes, if any, are scheduled to be implemented at the start of the next school year in August if approved by trustees, according to LISD documents.
The bell schedule committee has in the past suggested the idea of staggering elementary, middle and high school start times by at least 40 minutes per tier.
According to LISD officials, the biggest traffic problems occur around high schools—such as Vandegrift and Vista Ridge—that are close to middle school campuses, creating traffic jams at the start and end of school.
The bell schedule committee will probably meet with stakeholders later this month, according to LISD spokesperson Corey Ryan, but not in time to address trustees at their next meeting schedule for Jan. 23.
LISD trustee Pam Waggoner emphasized at the meeting that the purpose of the proposed changes was not to save money but to improve instruction. Smith concurred, saying any changes to school start times or bus times would not result in significant cost savings.
“The community should know this has nothing to do with saving money,” Waggoner said.
According to the LISD website, the current school start times are:
- elementary school: 7:45 a.m.-2:50 p.m.;
- middle school: 8:55 a.m.-4:05 p.m.; and
- high school: 8:40 a.m.-3:45 p.m.
The bell schedule committee is composed of six principals, six central office staff members, two trustees, one former trustee and one teacher, according to LISD documents.