Last Updated on October 29, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Madison School Board Unlikely to Reverse Decision on School Start Times
In a recent development, the Madison School Board is standing firm on its decision to change school start and dismissal times, despite a board member’s push to revisit the issue. Nicki Vander Meulen, a member of the School Board, has launched an effort to reconsider the changes and requested a board vote on the matter. She believes that the decision should have been made by the board instead of the administration.
The changes in arrival and dismissal times were announced last week in response to consistent lateness of school buses. First Student, the bus company responsible for transportation, attributed the delays to a nationwide shortage of drivers. In order to address this issue, the school district decided to revert back to a modified three-tier system, which requires fewer drivers. With schools starting at different times, one driver can now handle multiple routes.
Vander Meulen submitted a written request to add the topic to the board’s meeting agenda, but as of now, it has gained little traction, and she has yet to receive any responses from other board members. Several board members declined to comment on whether they wanted to vote on reversing the start time changes.
Board member Maia Pearson explained that going through the board would have prolonged the decision-making process and potentially led to delayed buses until December. Pearson emphasized the need for swift action to address the ongoing disruptions caused by the shortage of drivers.
The school district has provided additional information regarding the changes, including the criteria for selecting schools for start time alterations and the logistical rationale behind the decisions. However, the new bus routes, which will be shared with families, have not been finalized yet. Nonetheless, the district anticipates that these changes will alleviate the disruptions experienced so far this academic year. However, unforeseen events such as flat tires and driver call-outs may still result in occasional disruptions.
As of now, it seems unlikely that the Madison School Board will reverse its decision on school start times. While Vander Meulen’s efforts have not gained much momentum, the district is focused on resolving the ongoing bus delays and ensuring a smoother educational experience for all students.