Parents speak out on possible start time changes in CCSD

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Parents outraged over the possibility of changing the time the first bell rings for some students in Charleston County got to voice their concern to the school district Tuesday night.

The plan would affect schools in Districts 4, 9, and 10. That includes parts of West Ashley, Johns Island and North Charleston. Elementary schools would start between 7:00 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. and middle and high school students would start at 8:30 a.m. 

It was a packed house at Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School Tuesday night for the third public meeting to discuss proposed bell times, held by the Charleston County School district. It all started two years ago when some middle schools asked for earlier start times because middle school students were getting home too late in the afternoon.

"These are just ideas that have been thrown out. Nothing has been voted on yet. This are just ideas and it is good that the community has come out and let us know their thoughts," said Chris Staubes with the Charleston County School Board. 

Many parents don't want their elementary school children to start class at 7:00 in the morning. That was the main talking point Tuesday night.

"It's hard enough right now to get my children to wake up by 7:00 a.m., and to have them get to school by 7:00 a.m. will be truly impossible. I can't even imagine," said Allison McCutcheon, a concerned parent at Tuesday's meeting.

The district believes more buses could help avoid any start time changes, but that would cost millions of dollars.

"If we have more buses, we can run more routes and then that would help us fix this issue," said Staubes. 

For now, many parents concerned about the well-being of their children, and the district says they're not ignoring them.

"I understand the parents concerns about their children having to get up early and having to go to bed early to get adequate amounts of sleep," said Reverend Eric Mack with the Charleston County School Board.

"Because you need all of the sleep you can get because you're a growing child," said Anntawn Green, a concerned parent at Tuesday's meeting. 

The district says they are going to look over all of the public feedback and discuss this in further detail in their next meeting on April 27.

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