Muscogee County School District passes time changes for upcoming year

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 10:18 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As this school year wraps up, students in Muscogee County can expect to see some changes for the upcoming school year.

The start time for all three levels – elementary, middle and high school – will be changed, with the younger students starting earlier and high schoolers later in the morning.

Minnie Tarver is a special needs caretaker, but she also has a young daughter enrolled in the Muscogee County School District. Although her daughter is just starting her school journey, she says when she heard about the time change, she was upset.

“WTVM did a brief synopsis on the community of what they think will be happening, and I know it will be going to a vote,” said Tarver. And it did go to a vote. Monday night at the school board meeting, the change passed in a vote of 6-2.

Elementary schools will now start at 7:45 a.m., a 15-minute difference from this school year, for middle school start-time will be 8:10 a.m., a 40-minute difference. Finally, high schoolers will start at 8:45 a.m., a 45-minute difference.

Muscogee County School District Chief Operations Officer Dr. Travis Anderson provided a statement in response to the vote:

“The MCSD board of education voted 6-2 to approve the new bell schedule starting SY 23-24. We recognize the impact that the time changes will have on our community. We are reminded that the purpose of the change is to support the whole child and to better align with the guidelines from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. After decades of research, the new bell schedule will help better support academic performance and improve circadian rhythms research which states that teenagers between 13-18 require 8 to 10 hours of sleep. Lack of sleep may cause obesity, depression, and decreased physical activity. The positive impacts of this change for our high school students would be fewer tardies, better attendance, and student behavior.”

School Board Chair Pat Hugley-Green says the time change came about because there simply aren’t enough bus drivers for the district.

“We find ourselves in a crisis that we have had for a few years now. With the shortage of bus drivers, the result of that shortage is students not getting to school on time,” said the chair.

For now, Tarver says she will adjust, she says she is not alone in being inconvenienced by the change.

Green also says her concern was over the time change in the fall and winter months and children getting on and off the school bus in the dark.

Parents can expect the change in August.