Some school days could lengthen

May 16, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

The length of the school day in some Washington County public schools could change as early as the 2001-02 school year.

Board of Education members are expected to hear a budget proposal by next spring that would standardize the length of the school day at elementary and middle schools.

County elementary schools do not have uniform school hours and the same is true for the county's middle schools. High school students go to school for six hours and 45 minutes.

While the length of time the county's students spend in school is more than the minimum required by the Maryland Department of Education, the county ranks low when compared statewide to other public school systems, School Board officials said.


During the School Board's Tuesday morning work session, Transportation Director Chris Carter gave the School Board two proposals for standardizing the length of the school day.

One proposal calls for all elementary schools to have six-hour, 30-minute-days and for middle schools to have six-hour, 45-minute days.

The other proposal would cover all elementary and middle schools except for Hancock schools.

Under these proposals, the county would move to the middle of the pack compared to the length of the school day in other Maryland counties, Schools Superintendent Herman Bartlett said.

It would cost $230,000 to standardize the school day for all elementary and middle schools, and $80,000 without the Hancock schools, according to the proposals.

The costs are associated with reorganizing the bus routes to accommodate different start and dismissal times.

Another bus, costing $20,000, would be needed for Springfield Middle School because that school covers a wide area. In addition, $60,000 would be needed for driver and assistant salaries, Carter said.

Including Hancock in the change would cost $30,000 for a contract bus and $120,000 to separate bus transportation for elementary students from the middle and high school students, Carter said.

Students from Hancock's elementary, middle and high schools currently ride the same buses.

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