One con that I see consistently come up in the press around expanding the school day and/or year is the issue around transportation routes and schedules. This is understandable given the potential headache associated with reconfiguring bus schedules to meet the demands of the new school day and students. You can imagine my excitement when I came across this little gem in Macon, Georgia. Four schools in Bibb County — which include Central, Northeast, Rutland and Southwest high schools and Hutchings Career Academy — will add more learning time in the coming 2012 – 2013 school year (300 hours) in order to meet federal requirements for students in struggling schools.
But get this – although the federal requirement would only affect those specific schools, Bibb officials said adjusting bell times and reconfiguring school transportation routes and schedules would cost too much money. For this reason, all Bibb County students (over 24, 000 students, 77% of which in 2010, received free or reduced lunch) will be in school an extra half-hour next year!
Griffin-Ziebart told the Telegraph that the principals she spoke with welcomed the longer school day because it would add more teaching time and that they “were very supportive of having that extra time for kids.”
Given the tough fiscal constraints placed on districts all around the country, it is just peachy (sorry I had to) to see a county like Bibb execute an expanding learning time plan that is both fiscally responsible and accepted by teachers and community members alike!