CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Many students in North Charleston, West Ashley and Johns Island will have different start times next year.
Monday, Charleston County school board approved changing bell times in three districts.
"Pushing the bell times back would help teachers and staff but most importantly, our students," one speaker said.
The board voted to change the start times for Districts 4, 9, and 10. The big change is middle schools in District 9 and District 10 will start at 7:30 now.
"Everyone is very excited," Maggie Kilgore, an 8th grade teacher at West Ashley Middle School said. "It's a little bit frustrating that it took this long for them to recognize why it was important."
She says the times put students at a disadvantage.
"It's really hard to compare a school that doesn't get out till 4:30 pm with a school that gets out at 2:30 pm," Kilgore said. "You're talking about a huge difference in students' focus, discipline, and energy."
The new plan requires more buses because the same amount of students will be dropped off in less time. Some also concerned with middle and high school students riding together.
The district is worried it won't have enough buses and drivers by the start of the school year because it's already short, but still approved the change in start times.
"The children should not have to wait another day to figure this out," Michael Miller, a school board member, said.
Schools in District 9 will change this fall and schools in Districts 4 and 10 will change before January of 2016.
The new schedule will cost the district $3 million a year because of bus operating costs.