Dozens of Durham schools could see start times change this fall

You have it down to a science.

The exact time you need to need to drag yourself out of bed, what time you have to have breakfast on the table, let the dog out and wrangle the kids into their coats so they can make it to the school bus stop and you can get yourself to work on time.

School boards in Durham Region could be throwing a wrench into that plan. Both the public and Catholic boards are studying adjusting the start and finish times for dozens of schools by as much as 45 minutes starting in September.

The changes are the end result of a review of bussing practices by Durham Student Transportation Services, which handles bus service for both the Durham District School Board and the Durham Catholic District School Board.

Between the two boards, officials are recommending changing the bell times for 38 schools or 23% of those studied. 27 of those are looking at adjustments to the school day of 10 minutes or less.

Durham District School Board

Andy Lubczynski, a father of three children who attend Eagle Ridge Public School in Ajax has concerns about safety, childcare and scheduling with a proposed shift of opening bell from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Lubczynski says parents at a handful of community meetings  have said they are worried about having to rouse their kids at a different time, that the quality of their learning may suffer. And their after-school lives could be affected too. Lubczynski says one dad figures he would have to pull his kid out of school early three times a week to make it to hockey practice.

"That might sound like a first world problem but if ain't broken, don't fix it."

While the system may not be broken, Terry Simzer a spokesman for the DDSB tells Jerry Agar the proposed tweaks to bussing could allow 1, 200 more kids to ride the bus while cutting the number of buses and saving $2 million.

Lubczynski is worried about parents scrambling to cover an extra half hour of childcare in the morning.

Simzer says before and after school care at Eagle Ridge would be adjusted in line with the change in the school day. But that will not help parents who are using other means of childcare before or after the bell.

Simzer says trustees will continue to study the issue through the month of March and continue to welcome feedback.

You can can be heard by calling 905 666-8080 x 5106 or by e-mailing belltimes@dsts.on.ca