Columbia school board seeks feedback on three-tier plan

Dec 11, 2012

A classroom at Columbia's Jefferson Junior High, which will be a middle school next school year. The Columbia Board of Education is considering a three-tiered system for transportation and start times at Columbia schools.
Credit KBIA

The Columbia School District's Board of Education has agreed to move forward with a three-tier transportation system for district schools. The three-tier system means that elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools will have staggered start times allowing busses to have layered pickup and dropoff times. At a regular board meeting last night, board members said the next step is getting community feedback.

The board is issuing a survey later this week asking parents, teachers, and students for feedback about the potential three-tier system.

A current proposal calls for schools to start at three different times to coordinate bus schedules, but that could mean elementary schools would start at 7:30 in the morning. Board members last night heard from one parent concerned about the early start time, saying she did not want her children waiting for a bus in the early hours.

Board member Helen Wade said she understood the concerns, but she says the board also doesn’t want students starting too late in the morning, and a balance will have to be found:  There’s such a thing as too early and there’s such a thing as too late and there’s a happy medium and we will just spread that through," she said. "Just sort of balance the interests across the district with regard to different ages and needs of our kids.”

The school district currently operates on a two-tier system with elementary schools starting at 8:50am, and middle school and high school students starting between 7:45 and 8.