In order to transport about 3,100 students each day for the 2020-2021 school year, Deer Creek School District has found it necessary to adjust the start and end times for district students. Currently Deer Creek has a 0.5 mile walk zone, however, other school districts of comparable size transport students 1.5 miles. Having students walk 1.5 miles to school in Deer Creek would cause some students to have to cross a major freeway, said Lenis DeRieux, assistant superintendent.
According to information released by the school district, by altering the start and stop times for the schools, this would narrow down the need and the cost of adding 11 new buses, routes and drivers.
“The new times would decrease the amount of classes a student would have to miss for an extra curricular activity, eliminates the youngest students (ages 5-8) from having to be at a bus stop in the dark and potentially be at home by themselves in the afternoon for a long period of time,” DeRieux said.
Transportation begins dropping off students 30 minutes prior to school.
“If elementary were to be first, Kindy through third grade would be at school as early as 7 a.m. and have to be at a bus stop by 6:15 a.m.,” DeRieux said. “A later start time for high school and middle school allows for more sleep time after an evening of late night for school credit extra curricular activities.”
According to information released by the district, “It is best practice for age groups to be in close proximity when riding a bus. Most parents would not choose to have their Kindy-5th grade students riding the bus with middle school or high school students.” The scheduling is based on a variety of factors and extra-curricular activities. Classes including band, choir, speech/debate and athletics are all considered extra-curricular activities.
“The administration team has spent several months researching and considering every possible scenario involving all of our age groups along with studying other districts’ start and end times,” DeRieux said. “The district weighed the pros and cons along with our current resources for every level. The new start times keep our kids safe, utilize current resources, maximize instructional time, and ensure opportunities for all students with our community and collegiate partnerships.”
All parents were sent a flyer outlining the new times and the reasons behind the changes.