Ask ELi: Staggered Start Times to Prevent Donley-Whitehills Congestion?

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Monday, June 3, 2019, 5:41 am
Noa Kuszai

In response to ELi’s report on parents’ concerns over traffic safety when the Whitehills and Donley School populations combine starting in the fall, a reader asked whether staggered start times might be an option to relieve congestion.

We asked East Lansing Public Schools Superintendent Dori Leyko about this. According to Leyko, start times can be staggered.

“Yes, staggered start times are possible and were discussed and considered,” Leyko said in an email to ELi.

She explained, however, that the District is not going that route.

“At this point, the district is not pursuing staggered start times,” Leyko said. “In our discussion, we identified pros and cons and chose not to pursue this option.”

Leyko explained that there would be possible costs involved, along with further negotiations between the district administration and the teachers’ union.

“There are potential costs involved with transportation if we add additional bus runs or time to our current runs,” Leyko said. “The school calendar and daily schedule is collaboratively bargained with the district and the East Lansing Education Association (ELEA), so changing a school's calendar would require additional negotiations — we are currently completing the first year of a three-year contract with our teachers' union.”

Leyko added that “The coordination of district professional development among elementary staff, including on the four Late-Start Wednesdays already scheduled for 2019-20, could pose some issues with teachers and staff on different daily time schedules as well.”

So, while in theory staggered start times are possible, in practice, the District will not be going that route.


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