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SF Middle School Schedules May Change

April 9, 2009, 5:53 PM by Katie Janssen

SF Middle School Schedules May Change
The Sioux Falls School District has to tighten its belt, to the tune of more than a half-million dollars. It looks like middle schoolers will see the biggest changes because of it.

Cuts in high school and elementary supplies would save nearly $200,000, and the district could save more than $100,000 by having teachers aides supervise lunch. But the biggest savings could happen by shifting the school day back 15 minutes for middle schoolers to cut transportation costs.

Superintendent Pam Homan sent a message to parents Thursday explaining then fewer busses would be on the roads, because one driver could handle both a middle and elementary school route. But some parents aren’t happy with the proposal.

Some kids will tell you that the end is their favorite part of the school day. But soon, Sioux Falls middle schoolers may have to let out a little later to help cut costs.

“It's going to be hard, but I'll adjust," Sioux Falls parent Leslie Liben said.

The 15-minute change would mean students begin class at 9 a.m. and dismiss at 3:45 p.m. Both times are exactly one hour after elementary schools begin and end. The district says that gives bus drivers time to complete one route and move right on to the next.

While it might not sound like a big change, parents say the proposed 15-minute difference would take some getting used to.

"I've got to call my boss for one, to get someone to cover my shift to get my kid out on time or for me to be there on time," said Daniel Winge, also a parent in Sioux Falls.

"We're definitely working class here, so we really try to have our schedules around our kids' schedules, so it's going to be difficult for some parents," Liben said.

The district is working on a before and after-school care plan for parents who have no choice but to drop their kids off early or pick them up late. Parents say that helps, but it wouldn’t solve the problem.

"Try to tell your boss it's 15 minutes, they don't always like that," Winge said.

The district estimates the change could save $260,000 a year.

The school board will vote on the proposal Monday, and if it passes, they'll give it final approval in July.

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