School schedule leaves kids waiting on bus in the dark

School schedule leaves kids waiting on bus in the dark

Parents are concerned the new PCSSD bell schedule will leave kids in the early morning dark waiting on the bus. Teachers have filed an injunction to protect them.
Parents worry the new bell schedule this fall on the books for the Pulaski County Special School District, (PCSSD), will leave their kids in the dark as early as 6 a.m. waiting for the bus.

Teachers filed an injunction to stop this bell schedule. The board heard from parents about the concerns and talked about what can be done. With only two weeks until school starts, any change must happen quickly.

"These children are going to have to get up at 5 o-clock in the morning," said Gwen Williams with the PCSSD Board.

Some PCSSD Board Members are worried about the new schedule adding 40 minutes to the elementary school day. And parents showed up too to talk about why they're concerned.

"If they're out there in the dark 159 days a year, that's not good. It can't be good and it's going to be cold. There are predators around," says parent Molly Clower.

They worry about lunch times, too. Some as early as 10:30 a.m., leaving kids hungry in the afternoons.

Teachers are upset because the schedule changes conflict with the union contract for the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers, PACT, which the district must honor as ordered by a judge even though the board has attempted to no longer recognize it.

"If we don't follow the order of the judge, we're going to be in violation again," says Williams. 

Teachers now must hold their planning sessions in the middle of the day instead of being able to choose to do it at the beginning or end. The board didn't make any decisions, but PCSSD Board President Tim Clark did ask the superintendent to see what could be done about the bus schedules for children's safety.

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