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Richmond County schools to shift start times to ease bus woes

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 5:34 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Big changes are coming to Richmond County schools next school year.

For weeks, we have reported about the issues with bus times coming from a lack of drivers and more students in the district. One-third of students in the district have been coming to school late.

It is an issue Senior Director of Transportation Paul Abbott says needs to be fixed.

So, in Tuesday’s school board meeting, the board decided to stagger some of the school start times. Abbott says one of the key issues is that there was not enough time to get students to each school on a bus driver’s route.

“One of the things we noticed over the past few years, with the 45 minutes between bells, we just didn’t have time to get from the first school to the second school, to the third school,” Abbott explained. “Because all the bus drivers have three schools that they drive for.”

So, in this new model:

1st tier schools will now start at 7:25 a.m. and end at 2:10 p.m.

2nd tier schools will start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:05 p.m.

And 3rd tier schools will start at 9:20 a.m. and end at 4:05 p.m.

So instead of having three schools that all start at the same time, they’re hoping by staggering those times, it will allow students to get their full school day and get them home on time.

“When you lose time with only 45 minutes, once you lost it, you can’t make up any time,” Abbott said. “So, we are hoping that just by increasing each route by 15 to 20 minutes, this will give us enough time and to cut out a lot of the issues that we face every day.”

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