If approved, LISD officials say the new schedule would add instructional time at each tier of education: 10 minutes at elementary schools, 5 minutes at middle schools and 15 minutes at high schools.
LISD administrators say the main reasons for the schedule changes are to better position the district to meet state time requirements for instruction, as well as academic expectations in several grades and disciplines.
The new schedule, officials say, would also help to reduce morning traffic congestion around certain schools. High and middle schools currently begin within a 15-minute span from 8:40-8:55 a.m., creating traffic jams around schools that are either adjacent or near one another. Vandegrift and Vista Ridge high schools are two examples, district officials have said.
The new schedule would also help alleviate LISD’s ongoing bus driver shortage by allowing most drivers to manage three routes instead of two, according to LISD.
The first proposed bell schedule—which proposed start times within an hour-and-20-minute span—drew criticism in January, prompting the bell schedule committee to go back to LISD stakeholders. The new plan reduces the start time window to one hour.
At previous LISD meetings, working parents who have children in two—or all three—tiers of instruction have spoken out against moving start times further apart. They say it would make it more difficult to get their children to school and also get to work on time.
Both proposed bell schedules were crafted by the bell schedule committee, which was formed in 2018. It is composed of six principals, six central office staff members, two trustees, one former trustee and one teacher, according to LISD documents.
Leander ISD trustees will discuss the new proposed changes to school start times at its May 21 agenda review meeting. They will most likely vote on the new schedule at their May 28 regular meeting.