The Toronto District School Board says it is staggering school start and end times for the school year that begins in September 2020 in an effort to save the board about $2.5 million on buses.
The TDSB said the changes will affect 131 elementary schools across the city.
“By staggering the start and end times of these schools, the TDSB is able to plan bus routes more efficiently and this will be better for our students by ensuring that students get to school on time and we reduce the number of busses used for transporting students,” the school board said in a statement.
In a letter obtained by Global News, parents were told that starting in September 2020 start and end times for school could be moved from anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes.
Some affected schools on the list could start as early as 8:15 a.m. for morning bell and end as late as 3:45 p.m. for the afternoon bell.
“We understand that this may be a change to your family’s routine,” the letter read.
“However, if we did not reduce transportation costs by staggering school start and end times, we would have to reduce other services and supports to students that would have more direct and negative impact on classroom teaching.”
The TDSB said the decision was made in June of 2019 as part the last year’s budget process. They said TDSB trustees approved an operating budget plan that required $67.8 million in staff reductions and changes to programs and services to address provincial government funding reductions.
The board said it is adjusting school start and end times to find savings and efficiencies in student transportation.
Some efficiencies would mean fewer bus drivers would be needed and that would help address the ongoing bus driver shortage, the board said. Other efficiencies include improving service to the remaining routes and ensuring transportation services for all students currently being bused are maintained.
About 55 buses would be removed from routes, the board said.
These changes are projected to save the TDSB about $2.5 million.
A list of the affected schools can be found on the TDSB’s website as well as dates and times for in-person and online information meetings regarding the changes.
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