While Elkhart Community Schools’ referendum allowed for elementary students to get a shorter school day, the school day for middle and high school students in 2014-15 will look about the same as it did last year.
Students will start school at 7:25 a.m. instead of last year’s 7:30, and they will get out of school at 2:40 p.m. instead of last year’s 2:45 end time.
The seven-hour-and-15-minute instructional day is important for older students, Superintendent Rob Haworth said.
Changing the school day by just five minutes makes a big difference in the number of bus drivers needed to pick up students and take them home, he added.
Elkhart Community Schools has done some hiring of bus drivers since a large group of drivers retired at the end of the 2013-14 school year, but more drivers are still needed to supply every bus route.
Haworth said the school corporation currently has 114 bus drivers and needs about 136 drivers in all, but he’s confident enough drivers will be hired by the beginning of the school year.
The additional transportation money available through the referendum did allow for middle and high school walk zones to be shortened to one-and-a-half miles from two miles. Elkhart’s school board voted to approve the change in a meeting Tuesday night, July 8.
Haworth noted the school corporation would like to shorten those walk zones again to one-and-a-quarter miles, but that change would require even more bus drivers.