By Weekly Press Staff
BATON ROUGE, La. - In response to the persistent transportation challenges facing the East Baton Rouge Parish School District, the School Board has given the green light to a revised schedule for middle and high school students, aiming to recapture valuable classroom time.
Effective Monday, September 11, students will commence their school day a few minutes earlier at 7:05 a.m. and conclude it 5 minutes later at 2:27 p.m. Bus pick-up times will also be adjusted, with an average shift 15 minutes earlier than the current schedule.
A competing proposal suggested extending the fall semester by two additional days, designating December 18 and 19 as regular school days. However, this proposal was ultimately rejected by the board.
School Board President Dadrius Lanus emphasized the necessity of this move to meet the district's legal requirement for instructional time, stating, "Legally, by state statute, we had to do this."
The approved plan will restore approximately 1,340 minutes of instructional time lost due to a bus sickout and early dismissals at the beginning of the semester.
However, some board members expressed reservations about altering start times. Patrick Martin voiced doubts about whether the slight time adjustments would significantly impact learning and urged the board to explore alternative solutions. He argued, "Most of this proposal is squeezing in a few minutes at the cost of significant disruption to the community for what I think is just fictitious learning, for compliance's sake only."
Martin was concerned about the potential disruption to thousands of students' routines caused by changing the bell schedule for the third time in the semester. He concluded that these minor changes wouldn't effectively compensate for the learning loss during the transportation crisis.
President Lanus acknowledged Martin's concerns but remained confident that teachers and students would adapt successfully. He stated, "I believe that our teachers are still teaching, and I do believe our students are always learning, so I think either option would've been plausible, but I think where we are right now, I think that was the most plausible answer for us to go with, which is why a majority of the board voted for it."
In the final vote, Martin opposed the plan but expressed optimism, saying, "I have faith that our principals and teachers will minimize the impact of this, and I guess time will tell."
It's important to note that the adjusted schedule will only be in effect for the remainder of the semester, with students returning to their previous program after the winter break.
Elementary students will experience the exact schedules.