DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - In May, Dorchester District 2 made a push for a proposal to change the bell schedule of its schools by August. In two weeks, it collected 6,000 responses, from favorable to frustrated.
"We received a lot of comment from the public saying why did you spring this on us so late," says superintendent Joseph Pye. "We don't know enough about it to give you any advice or input."
School officials say the plan came about to address concerns, mainly, in the high schools. The district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction says the buses drop off most of their high school students between 6:15 and 6:30. School doesn't start until 7:25.
The proposed schedule would push back high school to 9:15. Elementary would start 10 minutes earlier at 7:15 and middle school would start 15 minutes earlier at 8:15. Pye says transportation will also be improved.
"The buses are the whole reason we have to do all of this. We wish we could just have everybody come from eight to three and call it a day, but it doesn't work that easily. We have limited number of buses and have to do three different routes in the morning and three in the afternoon."
School officials say they need more input from parents before the school board makes a decision to implement the change.
"Community meetings and forums will also give us an opportunity to share with parents and, hopefully, provide for them some clarity and understanding as it relates to our proposal as well as vetting their concerns," says Dr. Sean Alford, the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
The district will hold the community meetings over the next several months to inform parents and get feedback from them. The school board will re-evaluate the proposal in December.