Request additional buses for Newport Public Schools and restore school start hours
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On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, 8 days prior to the start of the 2017-2018 school year, Newport parents were informed that the start time for Pell Elementary School would be changed from 8:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Ostensibly, the move was prompted by the bus company, Durham School Services, indicating that they could not deliver Pell students to and from school safely in the allotted time-frame. The Newport School Committee has known for a year that the bus schedules were inconvenient and that some children were spending close to an hour on the bus. Making a change a week out without parental input is unacceptable. A bus company dictating the academic schedule of an entire school is unacceptable.
The change in time is a tremendous hardship for parents (working parents and single parents alike). A start time that falls outside normal business hours puts parents in a position of having to either miss work (or get there late) to make sure their child gets on the bus on time or leaving a child at the bus stop without supervision. These are elementary school children ages 5 to 9. For the sake of parents and students and for safety (in winter the sun goes down at 4 p.m. and students who spend an hour on the bus will be getting home in the dark), we the parents of Pell Elementary School request that:
1. Durham School Services provide additional buses to get the students to and from school safely and within an acceptable time-frame. Additional buses can be run on an "express" mode where buses have fewer bus stops or a "specialized" mode where they drive directly to specific drop off points (e.g. MLK Center and Boys and Girls Club).
2. The regular school hours of 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. be reinstated.
3. The parents be informed prior to any decision being made that affects the student-body.
Pell Elementary School Parents
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