SCCPSS changes bell times for several schools; system says changes due to shortage of bus drivers

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 5:48 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) has changed the bell times for several schools in the district.

In a call to parents, the system said the bell time changes are due to the shortage of bus drivers. According to the system, the change in bell times will allow the “maximum number of students identified in Priorities 1, 2 and 3 can be transported.”

The school system noted in an email to teachers that the eight K-8 schools in the system will now start at 8:15 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m. An adjustment of 35 minutes. Some charter and middle schools were also impacted.

Parents are asked to check the new bell times for your child’s school.

Below is the new bell time schedule posted by SCCPSS:

The first day of class for the new school year is next week, Wednesday, Aug. 4.

SCCPSS parents and staff react to bell time changes

Many Chatham County parents are shocked after learning just one week before the first day of school.

The shock varies from parents to district staff.

One parent told WTOC her child is having to switch schools because she and her husband work full time and cannot get their kid to a choice school at the new time.

But parents are mostly upset about how late they were told about the bell time changes since the first day of school is just one week away.

One SCCPSS K-8 teacher and parent who wanted to remain anonymous told WTOC the switch is costing them money too.

“In a normal year we have to be there at seven and the daycare that our children normally go to changed their hours and they don’t open until seven so we had to find another daycare which is much more expensive,” said the SCCPSS K-8 teacher and parent. “Now I am really upset because I am under contract with this new daycare and I find out that my work hours are going to change and I could have kept my children at the daycare they were at before.”

They also say when the announcement came out, the administration and staff at their school were not notified.

“It is just completely absurd to me and the lack of communication and just the fact that they do not care. They do not care about the staff they do not care about the parents.”

However, others like SCCPSS grandparent Latrelle Gould are big fans of the bell time changes.

“To be honest I think the times are great because, from the times that I see, my grands will be able to go to school later,” said Gould. “And then my daughter, her husband,or my husband or I will be able to take them to school and give her a little bit of more time to play with when she gets off.”

Even though these changes will not affect every family in a negative way, some SCCPSS parents like Jasmine Polley are coming together to find a way to help those who will not be able to get their kids to school.

She has created posts on a parent Facebook page to help families carpool to schools.

“I was like you know, I have got to do something,” said Polley. “It was a simple ‘Hey this is your school comment here but it seems to of helped a lot of different parents but this K-8 issue has just thrown another wrench.”

Polley also says she understands the district is having a difficult time hiring transportation staff but says she and other parents are concerned and upset about the lack of communication and transparency from the district.

“It should not fall on the backs of the parents to figure this out so last minute,” said Polley.

WTOC did reach out to the district for a response about the bell time changes.

We have not heard back yet.

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