ADAMS TWP — Students in kindergarten through the sixth grade in the Mars School District next year will arrive at school 15 minutes earlier and start class at 9 a.m. instead of 9:05 a.m.
The move was approved Tuesday night by the school board.
District Superintendent Jim Budzilek said the change will have students in the primary center, elementary school and Centennial School arrive at 8:35 a.m.
Currently, students arrive at the three schools at 8:50 a.m. If cars and buses become backed up at arrival time, some students barely make it into their classroom before instruction begins.
The 8:35 a.m. arrival time will allow students more time to get to their classrooms, Budzilek said,
Gordon Marburger, board member and school bus driver, said the time change will eliminate about 20 minutes of bus idling between the secondary and elementary runs.
“You'll see a fuel savings,” Marburger said.
Parents over the past year have complained to the board that students begin school at 9:05 a.m. and miss five minutes of instructional time each day.
“This reinstates the five minutes that were lost,” Ferguson said.
But board member Christine Valenta voted against the measure.
After the meeting, she said she fears a 15-minute planning period for teachers that was built into the time change could hurt instructional time.
Budzilek said each of the buildings' principals will guide faculty planning schedules to best benefit the students, but Valenta remained unconvinced.
Parent Tracy Ashbaugh thanked the board for the change and said many parents were frustrated with the morning rush at the schools.
“It's going to alleviate a lot of unhappiness for parents and children, too,” Ashbaugh said.
Budzilek said as the school district grows, arrival time may be discussed each year to see if changes are needed.
Dismissal time will remain the same next year at 3:20 p.m.