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Bus company decides early start time next year

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The following article was originally published by Kirsten Steffey in Volume 31, Issue 8 of The Correspondent on Feb. 12, 1999.  It is being republished as a part of the “Golden Years” segment, celebrating 50 volumes of The Correspondent.

Starting next year, the student bodies of Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, Prospect, and HErsey High Schools might face different starting times for the school day.

According to The Board of Education Agenda, “District 214 has contracted with school bus services for regular student bus transportation for many years.  The board of education has approved two successive one-year extensions of the Laidlaw contract which will expire June 30, 1999.”  This means that the school district needs to start looking for a new bus service or sign another contract with the company already in service.

A problem with some of the bus hours is that on the testing days for the ISATs, juniors had to come to school an hour before they needed to be in the building.  Instead of the school instructing all junior bus riders to come to school at 7:30 and those with cars to come an hour later, all juniors were told to come to school at the same time.  The reason everyone had to come at the same time was the bus schedule.  Instead of junior car riders being able to stay at home for an extra hour, they had to come to school and watch “Mulan.”

An idea presented to the Board was staggering starting times for schools to make it easier for the bus companies.  When EGHS and RMHS had staggered starting times, the approximate annual cost savings from the Cook County contract was $250,000.  This situation might have influenced the decision of the board members who voted last night on what company to use for student transportation.

A problem will arise from stating school at 7:20 instead of 7:30 is that not all the teachers will be able to come to school that early.  According to principal Dr. Horler, “A ninth period class may be available to students, but a student poll would have to be taken to see if it would interfere with extracurricular activities.”  If a ninth period class is offered, then any teacher or student who could not get to school by 7:20 would be able to take the ninth hour class.

“A large number of teachers fall under the problem of being unable to make it to school early, and with younger teachers being hired, it becomes an increasing concern,” stated Dr. Horler.  Right now the school board is looking into how they are going to deal with younger teachers who are unable to come to school early.

The administration needs to consider whether to use the current contracted bus company, Laidlaw, or to contract another one.

According to The Board of Education Agenda, “Laidlaw will provide service to BGHS, WHS, JHHS, and PHS.  (The starting times are noted on the table.). The last time services were bid, two one-year contracts were awarded for the 1996-1997 school year.”

According to The Board of Education Agenda, District 214 is making an attempt to “enhance service, reduce costs, and generate competition,” by offering the four schools up for bid.

This decision will affect the students, teachers, athletes, and coaches of virtually all District 214 schools, since class times, scheduling, athletic practices and game and meet times could all be determined by the decision that is made regarding the busses.

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The student news site of John Hersey High School
Bus company decides early start time next year