Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the spelling of Lannon Heflin's name.

Georgetown ISD trustees approved an update to the district's bell schedule that will go into effect in the 2024-25 school year to ease budgetary concerns around transporting a growing student population.

What you need to know

After two months of gathering feedback from the greater Georgetown community, staff brought forth a recommendation to approve a bell schedule that will have high school students begin class 20 minutes earlier than middle school students.

The move will help the district make better use of existing buses as well as coordinate pickups and drop-offs with increased traffic. By allowing a more optimal use of the district's existing buses, administrators have suggested the move could save the district about $150,000 per year.

This option was most popular among residents, said Lannon Heflin, GISD's chief of technology and innovation, during the May 20 board meeting in which trustees approved the change.

The details

District documents show the best utilization of GISD's bus fleet would occur with a 15- to 20-minute time difference between middle and high school bell schedules.

The approved bell schedules are as follows:
  • High school: 8:40 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Middle school: 9 a.m.-4:20 p.m.
  • Elementary school: 7:40 a.m.-3 p.m.
How we got here

Kirby Campbell, GISD's executive director of support services, said during a March 4 board workshop that district staff and administrators were working to identify how to best serve the district's goal of reducing expenditures while maintaining the level of service students and their families have come to expect.

One of the ways the district might reduce some operating costs would be to update its bell schedule, Campbell said.

Currently, middle and high schools start and release at the same time. With the district projected to grow by about 4%—close to 500 students—in the upcoming school year, Campbell said the district is proposing a change to its bell schedule that would see start and end times for middle and high schools staggered to give its existing bus fleet more time to transport a greater number of students without requiring more resources.