The Midlothian ISD Board of Trustees discussed the possibility of changing the district’s morning school start times during its regular monthly session on Monday.
Jim Norris, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, presented the idea to the board as a way to help with buses in the afternoons. Currently, the buses drop off elementary students before picking up secondary students, but it takes longer than expected.
Most days, secondary students are left waiting for the buses to take them home because of the increase in traffic, Norris added.
He suggested the elementary schools start 15 minutes sooner at 7:30 a.m. and the secondary schools start five minutes later at 8:30 a.m. This will give extra time in the afternoon for buses to finishing their elementary route without making secondary students wait.
“We really need to think about this,” he noted. “This is mostly driven by our transportation needs.”
Board member Gary Vineyard was concerned about the schools being opened soon enough for students who get dropped off early. Norris noted that shouldn’t be a problem.
Other scheduled times may need to change as well, such as breakfast, to account for the adjustment. Norris said many of the elementary students are already there around 7:30 a.m. and sees the pros outweighing the cons.
“It’s getting harder and harder and harder,” Norris said. “It’s not so bad in the morning. It’s not good, but it’s not so bad. What kills us is the afternoon [times].”
As the district grows, more kids are taking the bus and it takes longer to transport them.
If the time is approved, the daycare hours will also be adjusted, Norris noted.
The board did not take action on this item and will review it again next month before tallying a vote.
To help with some of the traffic issues, the board unanimously approved to add two 77-passenger buses and one special-education bus for $404,157 from the general operating fund balance, Norris noted. The buses will be purchased from Longhorn, which has provided previously provided the district with their buses.
The buses will be in possession by June, Norris said.
“We need those three yellow school buses,” he said. “This would really help a lot.”
Later in the year, Norris said the district will sell several older buses.
Board member Andrea Walton said it makes sense the district needs new buses as Midlothian continues to grow with additional developments.
“I think it’s wise the way we look at it each year,” Walton said. “I think that’s a good balance.”
The board also recognized several athletic programs for their successes including the Midlothian High School wrestlers for making it to state and their coach Kevin Reed for being named 5A Wrestling Coach of the Year. The board recognized the Midlothian High School boys’ basketball team and Midlothian Heritage High School girls’ basketball team both for winning their respective district championships. They also recognized Midlothian Heritage High School swimmers.
The next board meet is 6 p.m. April 15 at the L.A. Mills Administration Board Room in Midlothian.
Samantha Douty, @SamanthaDouty